November 22, 2012
What started in Brisbane continued in Adelaide as South Africa, currently the number one side in the world, was once again put to the sword. A rampant Australia reached an imposing score of 482 – 5 at stumps on Day 1 of the second test.
Captain Fantastic Michael Clarke led the way with an imposing 224 not out. In doing so he wrote himself into the history books by becoming the first batsman in world cricket to score four double hundreds in a calendar year, moving ahead of Don Bradman and Ricky Ponting. His strike rate was virtually a run a ball, something which The Don and Punter were never able to match over such a long innings. Backing up Clarke were David Warner (119 at more than a run a ball) and veteran Michael Hussey with a well-crafted 103.
Hard hats were required in the stands and not just because half the ground resembles a building site as the famous Adelaide Oval undergoes a facelift. Throughout the day, Australia scored at a scarcely believably 5.55 runs an over. Their domination was all the more surprising because at one stage they looked a sorry 55 – 3 after Jacques Kallis and Morne Morkel had made early breakthroughs. Ricky Ponting, for one, would not have enjoyed seeing a replay of his dismissal after Kallis had spread-eagled both stumps and batsman with a swinging yorker.
After the early scares, Warner and Clarke counter-attacked and savaged what was rapidly becoming a depleted bowling line-up. Vernon Philander had been declared unfit before the toss, Kallis had limped off after bowling just 21 deliveries and Dale Steyn struggled throughout the day with bouts of cramp. Warner, who had been under some pressure for his place after a poor showing in the first test, was the first to reach his hundred. After his departure, Mr Cricket (Hussey) took up the reins and cut, drove and pulled his way to an impressive milestone of his own. Throughout, a sublime Clarke helped himself, hitting boundary after boundary, seemingly untroubled by anything the South Africans could throw at him.
By the end, observers were starting to question South Africa’s decision to holiday in the period between the first and second tests. These murmurings will reach a crescendo if they are defeated in this match.
Australia will now seek to press on even more aggressively tomorrow. As for tonight, expect Graeme Smith and friends to be texting KP to see if he has any ideas on how to dismiss another international skipper.
The Scoop 22/11/12