Australia v South Africa, 2nd Test, Adelaide, 1st day November 22, 2012

Another Clarke double-ton deflates South Africa


Australia 5 for 482 (Clarke 224*, Warner 119, Hussey 103) v South Africa
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Pwnage. That's the only word for it. Either that or Michael Clarke has been playing in god mode. How else could one explain Clarke scoring his fourth Test double-century this year, a feat that nobody, not even Bradman, has ever achieved? How else could Australia have piled on 482 runs, the most they have managed in a day of Test cricket since 1910? But this was no video game. Graeme Smith couldn't switch off and start over, no matter how much he wanted to.

Clarke finished the afternoon unbeaten on 224. That's two innings in this series for two double-hundreds. David Warner struck a highly entertaining 119 earlier in the day, at better than a run a ball. Michael Hussey scored his second consecutive century, an innings that ended only when he played on to Dale Steyn from what became the last ball of the day for 103. If that wasn't enough for South Africa, they also spent most of the day one bowler short after Jacques Kallis left the field in the first session with a hamstring injury.

Kallis was in his fourth over when he pulled up while running in to bowl. He already had two wickets. That Australia's monumental performance came after they stumbled to 3 for 55 was remarkable enough, but the most notable aspect of their day was the rate at which they scored. They finished with a run-rate of 5.55. They struck 66 fours and nine sixes, helped by the short boundaries square of the wicket, but also by some insipid South African bowling, especially from the legspinner Imran Tahir.

Tahir just couldn't land the ball where he needed to. On the occasions that he did, he built no pressure because the next delivery was likely to give the batsman a release. He finished the day with 0 for 159 from 21 overs, reminiscent of Bryce McGain's horrid analysis in his Cape Town debut in 2009. But one thing to say about McGain is that he didn't once overstep; Tahir's effort was punctuated by five no-balls, unforgivable for a slow bowler.

Against Clarke, Hussey and Warner, he didn't have a hope. The Australians racked up 202 runs in the final session. As stumps approached, Hussey brought up his hundred from his 122nd ball with a slog-swept six off Tahir; the previous delivery Clarke had reached his double-century from his 226th ball with a nudge behind square for a single. It was the 82nd over of the innings. Smith could have already taken the second new ball, but instead he took it in the next over. Go figure.

It was one of those days where, after the first hour, nothing went right for South Africa. Steyn left the field with hamstring tightness, although he was at least able to return late in the day to remove Hussey. The prognosis for Kallis is unlikely to be good, and the South Africans had already lost Vernon Philander, who woke up with back soreness and was replaced in the line-up by Rory Kleinveldt.

In truth, it didn't much matter who was bowling, the way Clarke and Co were batting. Morne Morkel, who picked up two wickets earlier in the day, could not contain Clarke once he was well set. Clarke took 20 runs off one over from Morkel, driving down the ground, cutting hard, and bringing up his 150 with the fifth boundary from the over, a majestic straight drive. Clarke also pulled with confidence; after a couple of early bouncers rattled him, he was untroubled by the short stuff.

South Africa created few opportunities as the day wore on. On 64, Hussey was given out caught behind off Morkel, but asked for a review and Hot Spot showed no touch on the bat, giving him a reprieve. On 73, Clarke had edged Kleinveldt, but the ball flew between the two slips. Nothing was going the South Africans' way.

The Clarke-Hussey partnership was worth 272. They had come together after Warner, on 119 from 112 balls, edged Morkel to slip. Warner had done his job. He brought up his century from 93 balls with a six and a four off Tahir, a clean drive back down the ground and over the rope, followed by a confident cover-drive through the gap.

As he had done all innings, Warner trusted his attacking style, flashing at anything wide and enjoying the short square boundaries - he struck 16 fours. He also enjoyed some garbage from Tahir and Faf du Plessis straight after lunch, as both men sent down full tosses that he dispatched over the boundary. Those overs undid any of the pressure South Africa had built in the first session.

Kallis had been very impressive with the ball during his short spell, removing Ed Cowan and Ricky Ponting by attacking the base of the stumps. On 10, Cowan was beaten by a Kallis yorker that struck him on the toe and at first appeared to have been given out lbw by Billy Bowden, but it later became apparent that he was caught and bowled. After the ball hit Cowan's foot, it ballooned off the bat straight back to Kallis, and under the laws of the game, a catch takes precedence over lbw in deciding how a batsman has been dismissed.

Kallis also accounted for Ponting with an outstanding delivery that was full and accurate, and swung away from the bat just enough to beat Ponting, who suffered the indignity not only of being bowled but of falling onto the pitch on his hands and knees after trying to keep the ball out. Ponting avoided another duck but only just - his only scoring shot was a clip for four off his pads.

In between the dismissals of Cowan and Ponting, the No.3 Rob Quiney fell for an eight-ball duck when Morkel came around the wicket and forced Quiney to play a ball on off stump. Quiney's edge was well snapped up by Smith at slip and after his 9 in his only innings at the Gabba, Quiney was left hoping desperately that he would get another chance in this, his second Test

But South Africa rued the loss of Kallis and Australia dominated the rest of the day. South Africa were pwned.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Prashan on November 24, 2012, 10:08 GMT

    @maddy20, ha keep talking fantasy stuff. England can win in India by all means. Aussies have an even better chance of winning 4-0 in India early next year. Hilfenhaus is enough to run through your batting lineup.

  • cricket on November 23, 2012, 23:42 GMT

    its a good sign clarke is playing as gud as he is and he may well have replaced ponting jxt hope his form continues to make ashes a bit more interesting

  • Nicholas on November 23, 2012, 21:57 GMT

    Oh Ponting, what's happened to you? Embarrassing comments from certain posters as usual. Match quite evenly poised - could go down to the wire again.

  • John on November 23, 2012, 21:15 GMT

    @maddy20 on (November 22 2012, 23:11 PM GMT) RE "We are way better than England any day" - So long as that day isn't in an English summer right?

  • Abul on November 23, 2012, 17:56 GMT

    I think Cleark will take more double century against India team. He delivered too professional match always and can count every single bowling delivery deeply know best how to face it.

  • Tony on November 23, 2012, 17:22 GMT

    @scottstevo- I watch way more cricket than I should! You are just parroting what Ponting has been saying in media over the last 1 year. He is not batting well at all. It is almost embarrassing to watch a one's outrageously gifted batsman reduced to a weakling. He had long lost the hook,his mainstay. But over the last year and more he has lost his drives off the front and back. All he is still good at is the flicks off his pads.

  • Dummy4 on November 23, 2012, 13:59 GMT

    @dinosaurus: We know all about "crybaby stuff", we get it in bucket loads when these kinds of decisions go against Aus. Thankfully it doesn't happen as often against Aus as it does to some other countries.

  • David on November 23, 2012, 4:35 GMT

    An amazing day of cricket. Kallis tears into the batting with 2 stunning deliveries, & then Oz come back with a murderous assault on SA's now humbled attack. Wonderful cricket. Even more astounding, incredible, unbelievable etc is the depth of ignorance & xenaphobia displayed by so many commenters here. I can only wonder, why do you follow cricket if you don't enjoy the game, enjoy the contest?

    As examples: the pitch is NOT doctored - records show that. A Saffer & cricket fan I'm embarrassed to see such accusations leveled at Oz. @ Kentheavenonearth. Kallis is not past it. Since Jan 2010 he has the world's best test bat ave - 73.68, & the wickets of Ponting & Cowan show he is a bowler to be reckoned with.

    Those predicting 650 to 750 runs for Oz will inevitably be proven wrong. There are 4 days to go. Tests turn around in a heartbeat. Always goes like that! Oz could be out before lunch, and SA could post 750+ Be prepared to eat your words!

  • Andrew on November 23, 2012, 2:36 GMT

    Lunch on Day 2, great fight back by the Saffas. To be any hope of winning (or drawing) this Test - they needed to be batting by Lunchtime. Still a massive task ahead of them - they did well to get thru the 3 overs before Lunch. Saffas need to bat for 2 days & get some sort of lead. Funnily enuff - that should leave more than enuff time to win it, & IF they bat for 2 days, they'd be in a situation where it would be hard to lose. IF they were to do that, that word momentum would be with the Saffas! Big ask.

  • Guy on November 23, 2012, 1:28 GMT

    Yep, 338 comments and counting. The Australia-haters, excuse makers and aimless whingers are out in force. Having said that, it is FANTASTIC to see positive comments from @JG2704 (IMO the most thoughtful and consistent commenter on this site, both on partisan (England) and non-partisan games), @Dravid_Gravitas and others, and well-informed comments from @shrikanthk amongst many. Gentlemen, we are all passionate about this great game and entitled to our varied opinions, but I criticise many commenters here because the game would be even greater if we could appreciate great achievements from all nationalities (GREAT effort from Morkel in this Test) whilst still passionately supporting our own team, and without resorting to bizarre conspiracy theories to justify our own pre-conceived opinions. This game is eternally surprising! Your comments will often be wrong. Players you bag will succeed and those you love will fail. Embrace it! Give credit where it is due, and enjoy the whole game!

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