Australian test captain Michael "Pup" Clarke is having the kind of year that mere mortals dream about. He raced to a second consecutive double century yesterday as Australia ended Day One of the Adelaide test at 482 for five after a surreal day of cricket.
Clarke ended the day on 224 not out from a mere 243 balls; an incredible scoring rate for such a big innings. But remarkably, this was his fourth time past 200 in the 2012 calendar year, a record of Bradmanesque proportions.
Michael Clarke started the year with an unbeaten 329 against India at Sydney. Since then, his batting sequence has been as follows:
18, 210, 73 (India - home), 37, 6, 45, 15, 24, 25 (West Indies - away), 259 not out and 224 not out (South Africa - home)
That gives him a total of 1265 runs so far in tests in 2012. Clarke has batted twelve times, but because averages are calculated only on the number of completed innings (i.e. when a batsman is dismissed), his test match average is an amazing 140.56. That Clarke has gone on to double centuries and beyond every time that he has passed 100 is even more commendable; he doesn't just get centuries; he gets BIG centuries.
The burning question today is how long Clarke will bat on. Australia already has the Proteas by the throat and a first innings score of 600-plus seems inevitable unless the South African quicks can break through with the new ball this morning. Could Clarke be poised to become only the second player in history to score 400 in a test innings?
Play begins for the day in a few minutes, and if Michael Clarke can get re-established anything is possible against a tiring and under-strength Protea attack. It's almost time for us to have a lunch break and we might just have to retire to the sofa for a few overs whilst we eat our sandwich. And whilst we enjoy our lunch AND test cricket, we reckon that Ed Cowan, Rob Quiney and Ricky Ponting will still be filthy for not having cashed in yesterday on possibly the best batting surface in world cricket.
In the meantime, the chance to watch Michael Clarke and Hashim Amla, without doubt the two best batsmen in the world in 2012going head-to-head is irresistible.
UPDATE: Morne Morkel spoils the party as Michael Clarke departs for a magnificent 230.