Michael Clarke
Michael Clarke

Australia is in the box seat after an action-packed opening day of the second Test at Adelaide Oval on Thursday after concluding play with a mammoth total of 5-482 following yet another double century to skipper Michael Clarke and valuable tons to Dave Warner and Mike Hussey.

Clarke (224 not out) was in vintage form as he thumped a record 39 boundaries and one six in a scintillating display to follow up his mammoth 259 not out in the series opener in Brisbane to become the first player in history to score four double centuries in a calendar year.

The 31-year-old's class and extraordinary captain's knock was epitomised an hour before the conclusion of play when he rocketed towering South African quick Morne Morkel (2-128) to the boundary five times in one over.

While Clarke tormented the visitors, Hussey quietly put on a batting masterclass at the other end.

Hussey whacked nine boundaries and four sixes for 103 to record his second consecutive century following his 100-run effort at the Gabba, before he was bowled on the final ball of the day by Dale Steyn (1-62).

The duo's centurion efforts and 272-run partnership added to Warner's 119.

Warner was at his explosive best smashing a whopping 16 boundaries and four sixes to record his third Test century.

The powerful left-hander combined for a nifty 155-run partnership with Clarke to guide Australia back on track after the hosts collapsed to 3-55 following the dismissals of Ed Cowan (10), Rob Quiney (zero) and Ricky Ponting (four).

Australia's early stranglehold on the five-day encounter topped off a woeful day for the Proteas who lost two players to injury.

Paceman Vernon Philander was a late withdrawal on the morning of the clash with a back complaint while all-rounder Jacques Kallis (2-19) was forced from the ground with a hamstring injury.

Steyn also left the match with a hamstring niggle but returned later in the day to bowl.

After winning the toss and electing to bat, Australia came under fierce pressure from South Africa's venomous pace duo of Steyn and Morkel.

Australia withstood the early barrage as Warner eventually found his groove and rattled the boundary rope numerous times until Kallis claimed the breakthrough when he sent Cowan packing.

The hosts lost another wicket soon after when Quiney's poor start to his Test career continued when he was caught for a duck.

Kallis then tangled Ponting in his crease with a yorker to bowl the former Test captain.

Warner took just 144 minutes and only 93 balls to reach his ton but was dismissed shortly after lunch when he edged to South Africa captain Graeme Smith at slip.

With the partnership broken, Clarke lived dangerously, surviving near dismissals including one that required a review after late inclusion Rory Kleinveldt (0-70) was convinced he had found the edge of the Australian skipper's bat.

But he steadied to register his 21st Test century in style with a boundary as tea loomed.

Hussey followed suit when he thread a cut shot away behind point to reach 50 from just 62 balls.

The crafty veteran was given out late after umpire Billy Bowden judged the Western Australian to have been caught behind, but upon Hussey's challenge the decision was reversed.

Clarke carried on the onslaught, eventually notching 200 from a stunning 226 balls and only a little over three hours at the crease before surpassing his previous best of 210 at the ground set only in January of this year against India.

Hussey exceeded the centurion mark in remarkable elegance with a slog sweep for six beyond the mid-wicket fence.


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