Clarke dominates run fest at the Gabba
On another day dominated by the bat, centuries from Michael Clarke and Ed Cowan enabled Australia to take the lead. Here are some top numbers from a day the South African bowlers would like to forget in a hurry.
- Clarke became only the third batsman after Don Bradman and Ricky Ponting to register three 200-plus scores in a calendar year. Clarke had scored 329* and 210 in the Sydney and Adelaide Tests against India earlier in the year. Clarke's double-century is only the fifth one scored in Brisbane. Four of the five double-centuries in Brisbane have been scored by Australian batsmen. The last one, however, was scored by Greg Chappell in 1981.
- Among captains who have scored at least 800 runs in a calendar year, Clarke has the second-highest average (111.11). Don Bradman is on top with an average of 113.88 in 1948. Clarke's aggregate of 1000 runs in seven Tests is by far the highest in 2012. Hashim Amla is second with 791 runs in eight Tests.
- Clarke's century is his fourth in Brisbane and takes him joint-second with Matthew Hayden and Ricky Ponting on the list of batsmen with the most centuries at the Gabba. Greg Chappell is on top with five centuries. Clarke's average of 109.37 is second only to Chappell's 111.77 among batsmen who have scored 500-plus runs in Brisbane.
- Clarke is now joint-sixth on the list of Australian batsmen with the most 150-plus scores in Tests (7). Bradman is on top with 18 150-plus scores followed by Ricky Ponting (15). Clarke's 218 is his highest score against South Africa surpassing his previous best of 151 in the first Test in Cape Town last year.
- The 259-run stand between Ed Cowan and Clarke is the fifth-highest partnership for Australia against South Africa and the third-highest since South Africa's readmission. The partnership is also seventh on the list of highest fourth-wicket stands for Australia and the sixth-highest in Brisbane.
- Cowan's century is his first in Tests. His previous best was 74 against India in Perth in January 2012. Cowan's hundred is also the first by an Australian opening batsman in Brisbane since Simon Katich's 131 in 2008. Cowan scored 71 of his 136 runs from backfoot shots hitting nine fours in the process. In contrast, Clarke scored 72 of his 218 runs from backfoot shots.
- For the first time ever in Australia-South Africa Tests, four centuries were scored in the team first innings (1st and 2nd innings of the match). There have been nine other occasions when there have been three centuries scored in the team first innings.
- The only wicket South Africa managed in the day was that of Cowan, who was run out. The last two occasions when South Africa had gone without a single wicket in a day's play came against Sri Lanka (2006 at the SSC) and against Australia (1997 in Johannesburg).
- It is the fourth time overall and the second time this year (after the Sydney Test against India) that Australia have had two 150-plus stands for the fourth and fifth wickets.
- The partnership run-rate of 5.17 is the second-highest for Australia in Tests against South Africa since 1992. The highest is 5.46 during the 182-run stand between Hayden and Ponting in Sydney in 2006 (150-plus stands only).
Madhusudhan Ramakrishnan is a sub-editor (stats) at ESPNcricinfo