Topics:  cricket, gabba, michael clarke, south africa

Clarke grabs his third Test double century

AUSTRALIAN skipper Michael Clarke continued his magnificent 2012 with his third Test double century at the Gabba yesterday.

Clarke joined Ricky Ponting and Sir Donald Bradman as the only Australian players to have scored three Test double tons in a calendar year.

The captain finished the day unbeaten on 218, passing 1000 runs for the year as South Africa's much-vaunted bowling attack toiled without success on a featherbed track.

The only wicket to fall came from a run out as the Australians finished day four on 4-487 - a lead of 37.

The skipper hit 329 at the SCG last summer against the Indians and followed that up with 210 against the same team.

This time Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, Vernon Philander, Jacques Kallis and Rory Kleinveldt felt the wrath of Clarke as the Australians punished the Proteas bowlers.

And if there was any doubt about opener Ed Cowan making the team for the second Test in Adelaide, they were erased after the Tasmanian left-hander crafted his maiden Test century.

Cowan was eventually dismissed for 136, unluckily run out after Clarke's on drive was flicked on to the stumps by Steyn in his follow-through, leaving the 27-year-old stranded.

Cowan looked comfortable against the world's best bowling attack, particularly on the back foot and his fourth-wicket partnership of 259 with Clarke - a record for the fourth wicket for any Test team at the Gabba - virtually ensured today's final day would be nothing more than batting practice.

Michael Hussey also needed an innings to silence the critics and he was brutal against a South African attack, which by the time the Western Australian veteran came in, seemed bereft of ideas.

At stumps Hussey was unbeaten on 86 and had put on 188 with Clarke.

The South Africans struggled so much to get a wicket, skipper Graeme Smith, who had not bowled in a Test match for seven years, even tried his own part-time spin. He ended up using eight bowlers including Hashim Amla and Alviro Petersen.



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