Clarke Double Turns The Tables On South Africa
Australia completely dominated day four of the opening Test against South Africa in Brisbane with Michael Clarke leading the way by scoring an unbeaten double-century.
Ed Cowan also passed three figures and an unbeaten half-century from Michael Hussey enabled the home side to close on 487 for four in reply to South Africa's 450.
It marked an impressive turnaround for the hosts, who had been in trouble at 40 for three late on day three and although South Africa targeted early wickets to put them under pressure, they never came.
Clarke made 218 in 350 balls, Cowan 136 in 257 and Hussey 86 in 109 deliveries, leading bet365 to make Australia 7/1 to clinch an unlikely win on the final day (South Africa are 250/1 and the draw 1/12).
Cowan and Clarke had begun to take the attack to South Africa towards the end of day three and continued in the same vein as both men batted fluently.
They both reached their half-centuries and the milestones kept coming. Cowan passed his previous Test best of 74 and then notched a maiden Test century, coming from 185 balls.
Clarke's 20th came from 210 deliveries and their partnership was stretched to 259 when it was finally ended, perhaps appropriately enough, by a run out.
Piling on the runs was the only thing on Australia's mind, however, as Clarke and Hussey simply carried on from where Cowan and the captain had left off.
Hussey reached 50 in 68 balls, hitting six fours and then Clarke passed 200 for the third time - all of them since taking over the captaincy - in 335 balls, receiving a rapturous ovation.
Australia eased into an overall lead soon after and although the washout on day two means that a draw is still the most likely outcome, Australia will be keen to keep South Africa on the back foot and attempt to carry over any momentum into the second Test.
Such was Australia's dominance with the bat, Graeme Smith himself bowled nine overs - a rare sight indeed these days - as Hashim Amla and Alviro Petersen shared five between them in an ultimately futile bid to break partnerships.
© Cricket World 2012
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