BRISBANE – Michael Clarke struck a sumptuous double hundred to lead Australia to 487 for four at stumps on the fourth day of the first test against South Africa at the Brisbane Cricket Ground yesterday. Report by Supersport
Australia skipper Clarke ended the day unbeaten on 218 off 350 balls with 21 fours as the hosts took a 37-run lead on the first innings.
Clarke shared in two massive partnerships as he and opening batsman Ed Cowan put on a 259-run fourth-wicket partnership off 75,1 overs before Clarke and Michael Hussey combined for an unbroken fifth-wicket stand of 188 off just 36,2 overs.
The right-handed Clarke, who began the day on 34, brought up his 20th test hundred off 210 deliveries and he needed just 125 more balls to reach his third score of 200 this year.
Clarke is one of only three men, along with fellow Australians Don Bradman and Ricky Ponting, to score three double tons in a calendar year.
Clarke and Bradman both scored a triple century amongst their scores.
Clarke, who went past 1 000 test runs during the year during his knock, did have one life when, with his score on 135, he was caught behind off a Morne Morkel no-ball.
The 31-year-old Clarke played two loose shots early in the day off leading edges, but he was in complete control from then on with his straight driving being particularly impressive.
“I didn’t feel that good at the start of my innings and I had a bit of luck,” Clarke said after the day’s play.
“Not much has changed in my game, but I have worked hard on my defence. I’m really enjoying my batting at the moment and I’m cashing in on good starts,” he added.
The left-handed Cowan was run out in the penultimate over before the tea break for 136 off 257 balls with 17 fours and he reached his maiden test ton, off 185 deliveries, shortly after lunch, but he did enjoy one slice of luck when he was dropped, with his score on 123, at long leg by Dale Steyn off the bowling of Rory Kleinveldt.
Cowan was dismissed in unfortunate fashion when he was run out backing up too far at the non-striker’s end when bowler Dale Steyn deflected a Clarke drive on to the stumps.