Clarke’s Captain’s Innings Puts Australia On Top

Michael Clarke led from the front to take Australia to 494/7 at stumps on the rain-affected second day of the third test against South Africa at Sahara Park Newlands on Sunday.  The Australian skipper was unbeaten on 161 when the heavens opened.

The tourists resumed on 331/3 with Steve Smith (50*) and Clarke (92*) at the crease.  After facing 24 balls on 99 Clarke reached his century with a square drive through the offside.  The Proteas continued to toil with the ball as Smith and Clarke put on a 150 partnership.  Smith showed some intent dispatching Vernon Philander (1/116) and Morne Morkel (0/94) for sixes in close succession.  The Aussies brought up their 400 but shortly thereafter Smith chopped one on from Dean Elgar (1/99) to hand South Africa their first wicket of the day.  Shane Watson hung around before falling after lunch to JP Duminy for 40.  This was closely followed by Clarke’s tenth 150.  Brad Haddin (18) joined his captain at the crease but only lasted 21 balls after he hit one from Duminy straight to mid off.

Mitchell Johnson scored a duck after he was adjudged to have nicked one down the leg side to AB De Villiers off the bowling of Duminy, who grabbed career best figures of 4/73.

As the weather man predicted, rain suspended play with Australia on 494/7 and tea was taken.  The rainy conditions continued and officials called a halt to proceedings.

Play will resume on Monday morning at 10:00 with the tourists in a favourable position.