Ed Cowan and captain Michael Clarke lead Australia fightback against South Africa

 

Ed Cowan's maiden international century and an unbeaten double ton from captain Michael Clarke ensured that any hopes South Africa had of forcing a result in the first Test were all but wiped out at the Gabba after the hosts finished day four on 487 for four.

Chasing the Proteas' first innings effort of 450, Cowan hit 136 in a partnership of 259 with his skipper, before finally suffering an unfortunate run out to be the only the wicket of the day in Brisbane.

Clarke, who plundered 150 against the same opposition in Cape Town last year, finished the day on 218 with Michael Hussey (86no) picking up where Cowan left off.

With day two lost to rain Australia made steady accumulation the order of the day.

In two and a half hours of cricket before lunch they scored 103 runs with barely a scare and such was the unthreatening nature of the South Africa attack that Graeme Smith, who is without a frontline spinner in this game, chose to bowl himself.

Cowan got the single he needed to reach 50 in the first over, and Clarke followed him with a square drive off Test debutant Rory Kleinveldt shortly after bringing up the 100 partnership.

Progress was slow, Australia going more 16 overs without finding the boundary at one point, before Cowan pulled Smith, without a Test wicket since 2005, for four.

Cowan was given a hand when he was credited with a four which took him to 98 in the penultimate over before lunch when the ball actually came off his helmet.

By lunch, the partnership, which began with Australia in real danger on 40 for three, had reached 174.

Cowan pulled Vernon Philander for four in the second over after the resumption and that briefly seemed to free both batsmen, Clarke taking three fours off the next Morne Morkel over to move into the 90s.

Clarke took a single to bring up the 200 stand, then crept towards 100 before finally reaching the milestone in similar fashion.

A mix-up between Dale Steyn and Jacques Rudolph in the deep saw Cowan dropped on 123, but Steyn made up for his part in the error when he got a finger to the ball to run the same batsman out backing up just before tea.

By the break Australia were 144 behind the tourists' total.

South Africa's frustration was summed up in two events after tea.

First they wasted a review on a caught-behind appeal, when replays showed the delivery from Philander had been nowhere near Clarke's bat.

Then Clarke got an inside edge through to wicketkeeper AB de Villiers from a Morkel no-ball.

Clarke was scoring more freely by that point and he took advantage of his let-off, reaching 150 with a clip into the leg side for two.

While at the other end Michael Hussey helped himself to a 68-ball half century, pushing the home side to 400 for four.

Smith brought Hashim Amla into the attack in an attempt to prize either batsman out.

However, he failed to test the concentration of the pair as they pushed the Australians past the South African's first innings total as Clarke hit two consecutive boundaries off Morkel in the 114th over.

Two overs later and Clarke reached his third double century of 2012 with an immaculately timed on drive boundary off Steyn.

PA

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003