Australia captain Michael Clarke became the first batsman to score four double centuries in a calendar year to help his team amass 482-5 against South Africa as their Test cricket series resumed.
Clarke, who is 224 not out, was one of three Australians to reach triple figures on day one of the second Test as the home team racked up 5 1/2 runs an over in Adelaide after winning the toss. David Warner blasted 119 off 112 balls, while Mike Hussey made 103 before getting bowled in the final delivery of the day.
Clarke, 31, shared stands of 155 with Warner and 272 with Hussey to rally Australia from 55-3 and put the home team in control as it seeks to usurp South Africa as the No. 1-ranked Test team by winning the three-match contest.
The Australian captain came to the crease after his team lost three wickets in a 16-minute burst in the opening session and batted through unbeaten until stumps. The 482 runs was a record team total for a day’s play at the Adelaide Oval.
Clarke moved to 150 by hitting Morne Morkel for five fours in one over and reached his double century with a single off spinner Imran Tahir. Hussey smashed the next ball for a six to bring up his second straight century and 18th in Tests.
Clarke’s unbeaten 243-ball innings, which included 39 fours and a six, followed his ground-record 259 not out in the series-opening draw in Brisbane. He also made scores of 329 not out and 210 against India in January.
Warner and Clarke rallied Australia before the opener was caught at slip in the afternoon session to give Morkel his second wicket after dismissing Rob Quiney without scoring. Warner struck 16 fours and four sixes in his third Test century.
South Africa allrounder Jacques Kallis removed Ed Cowan for 10 and Ricky Ponting for 4 before going off with a right hamstring injury in the opening session. The touring team also lost fast bowler Vernon Philander to injury before the start of play when he woke with a sore back.
South Africa would retain the No. 1 spot in the International Cricket Council’s Test rankings by avoiding defeat in the best-of-three contest, while Australia can overtake the Proteas at the top with a series victory.