Dogged Clarke keeps Oz on top

Australia

Australia captain Michael Clarke was on 92 not out at stumps on day one of the third Test against South Africa at Newlands, leading his side to 331 for three after surviving a barrage of body blows early in his knock.

Australia captain Michael Clarke was on 92 not out at stumps on day one of the third Test against South Africa at Newlands, leading his side to 331 for three after surviving a barrage of body blows early in his knock.

Clarke showed typical guts and bloody-mindedness as he recorded his first half century in 11 innings, breaking a run of poor form after the pain of being struck on the arm twice, and on the head once, in one over focused him.

Aside from Clarke's 92, the visitors were boosted by yet another David Warner master class as he recorded 135, while Steve Smith was unbeaten on 50 at the close after putting on 114 runs with his skipper.

Australia won the toss and chose to bat first in the series decider against the Proteas, which was a good call as the deck played beautifully for batting, even from ball one. Chris Rogers was the only man to fall in the morning.

The South Africa bowlers, including Kyle Abbott who came in for Wayne Parnell, looked slightly toothless, with Dale Steyn starting the match with a ball that should have been called wide, and then the next ball was driven for four.

He made up for it later on though as Rogers tried to play forward to the paceman, but only managed to get an edge to Graeme Smith at first slip. The Aussies were on 65 at that point though, off just 13-odd overs.

The rest of the morning saw Warner and Alex Doolan build a good score, though Doolan was by far the more demure of the two. At lunch he was on 13 off 42 balls, while Warner was romping along at more than a run per ball.

Vernon Philander was the man to removed Doolan shortly after the restart, as the rookie number three tried to pull the paceman and only managed to get a top edge. The ball looped to Steyn at mid-off and Doolan was out for 20.

Clarke, on a run of poor scores stretching back to the starts of the Ashes Down Under, found himself bombarded with short balls from Morne Morkel. In one over, he was hit on the forearm and needed treatment, the next ball on the side of the head, and then in the stomach.

He survived though, as was on 22 off 75 balls at tea, while Warner, who had made his ton off 104 balls, was on 121. Bad news for the Proteas was that Steyn was struggling with a hamstring strain and looked set to miss the rest of the innings.

The evening session was a fruitful one for the visitors, even after Warner was dismissed by JP Duminy. He was caught behind off the spinner, though AB de Villiers needed to grabs to hold onto it.

The Proteas took the new ball a few overs before the close, but Morkel and Philander were unable to replicate their earlier pace, and looked tired given their extra workload in the absence of Steyn, who would be assessed overnight.

South Africa: Alviro Petersen, Graeme Smith, Dean Elgar, Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers, Faf du Plessis, JP Duminy, Kyle Abbott, Vernon Philander, Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel.

Australia: Chris Rogers, David Warner, Alex Doolan, Michael Clarke, Steve Smith, Shane Watson, Brad Haddin, Mitchell Johnson, James Pattinson, Ryan Harris, Nathan Lyon.

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