South Africa V Australia: Warner, Clarke Lead Aussies On Day 1

South Africa v Australia in brief:

·        Surprise return James Pattison

·        Warner’s big score

·        Clarke digs in

A ton from David Warner and some stubborn brilliance from Michael Clarke saw Australia to a total of 3-331 at stumps on day one of the third Test in Cape Town.

Warner smashed 135 from just 152 balls to put Australia in a strong position after the opening day of play, but not before the Aussies inserted a couple of lineup changes.

Chairman of selectors John Inverarity and coach Darren Lehmann made the expected decision to play a healthy Shane Watson, who replaced Shaun Marsh in the first XI, but also pulled a swift one by opting to drop Peter Siddle, the most prolific bowler during Clarke’s reign as captain, for the extra pace of James Pattinson. Pattinson however won’t be on display for at least another half day of action thanks to the fine form of Australia’s top order.

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Warner’s innings, featuring 12 fours and a six, were followed by a solid session from Clarke, who paired with Steve Smith to compensate for the cheap wickets of Chris Rogers (25) and Alex Doolan (20).

Warner produced his fourth century of the summer and was eventually dismissed when a spinner from JP Duminy edged his bat before being fumbled into the gloves of keeper AB de Villiers.

Determined not to see another collapse like the one that cost the Australia the second Test in Port Elizabeth, Clarke dug in to produce a score of 92 not out from 181 deliveries. He and Smith, who compiled his half century shortly before play was called off, resume at the crease tomorrow.

Clarke shrugged off recent back niggles and poor form (high score of 24 from previous 12 innings), but his strong leadership at the crease didn’t come without pain. He collected a number of bruising short balls from Morne Morkel, requiring treatment for blows to his left arm, neck and fingers.

The Proteas also made a couple of changes heading into the series decider, returning Alviro Petersen and Kyle Abbott in place of Quinton de Kock and Wayne Parnell.

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Photo: Morne de Klerk/Getty Images.


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