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.

Full report to follow

Tea Australia 4 for 280 (Warner 119, Clarke 104*, Hussey 34*) v South Africa
David Warner entertained the crowd with a brisk hundred and Michael Clarke brought up his fourth Test century of the year as Australia piled on the runs in the second session at Adelaide Oval. South Africa appeared bereft of ideas for much of the session, their only wicket coming when Warner edged to slip off Morne Morkel, and the Australians added 178 runs from lunch until tea, going to the break on 4 for 280, with Clarke on 104 and Michael Hussey on 34.

The short boundaries exacerbated the problems for South Africa, who had been so impressive in the opening session, when they picked up three early wickets through fine swing and seam bowling. But the loss of Jacques Kallis, who had collected two of those wickets, to a hamstring injury before lunch was a major blow and on a hot Adelaide day they missed the extra bowler during a demoralising second session.

One of the major concerns for Graeme Smith was the inconsistency and ineffectiveness of the legspinner Imran Tahir, whose eight overs cost 68 runs. It was reminiscent of the way South Africa’s batsmen hit Bryce McGain out of Test cricket on debut in Cape Town in early 2009, and Tahir’s confidence appeared to be shot as he struggled to find his length and was struck for boundaries all around the ground.

Clarke brought up his century with one such boundary, cutting Tahir through point off his 117th delivery, and it continued Clarke’s remarkable run since taking over the Test captaincy. In that time, Clarke has made seven hundreds, and his tendency to turn them into doubles and even triples is a concern for Smith, although the fact the Australia were four down at tea at least gave him hope that if they could break this partnership, they could turn things around.

Clarke and Hussey had added an unbeaten 70 and it was the speed at which they scored – 5.12 runs per over – that was the big worry for the South Africans. Clarke pulled with confidence forward of square leg and his driving was typically crisp, although there were occasions when accurate bouncers troubled him, as one from Steyn had in the morning when it crashed into his helmet. At other times, he handled them well, as when he rocked back and steered a Morne Morkel bouncer over the cordon for four.

Warner’s hundred was even more entertaining. 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.

Eventually, Warner was caught at slip off Morkel for 119 from 112 deliveries, and South Africa had another chance when Clarke, on 73, edged Rory Kleinveldt through the cordon. But the slips couldn’t get to the ball and apart from a hopeful review of a Clarke caught-behind appeal that showed nothing on Hot Spot, they didn’t get much more in the way of opportunities from Australia’s captain.

It was a disappointing result for the South Africans after their early wickets. 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 Graeme 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, who in his fourth over stopped during his run-up and immediately left the field with a hamstring injury. He went to hospital for scans, along with Vernon Philander, who woke up with back pain and was left out of the side, and the absence of two key bowlers proved to be an issue as the day wore on.

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