He became the first player in Test history to score four double centuries in a calendar year and led Australia to a dominant first day total of five for 482 – 224 of them were next to Clarke’s name, unbeaten from 243 deliveries, a run-rate one-day batsmen would be delighted with, with 39 fours and one six.

Clarke’s 224 is also the most runs scored in one day of a Test by a single batsman, knocking off another of Sir Donald Bradman’s records.

As usual, Clarke was more excited about the position the team was in than his personal milestone.

“It’s nice to be making runs don’t get me wrong, but you don’t really think about that to be honest,” he told ABC Radio’s Grandstand.

“I see 482 on the board and I want to make some more runs tomorrow and do whatever we can to win this Test.

“It is only day one of the Test with four big days to go. We have to turn up tomorrow morning and be ready to win the Test.”

It could have been so different for the Aussies who won the toss before the top order again failed to fire, falling to three for 55 with failures from Ed Cowan, Rob Quiney and Ricky Ponting giving South Africans the ascendency. The exception was opener David Warner, who delivered a long-promised 119.

Yet another century to Michael Hussey, who came in for Warner, was overshadowed again by super skipper Clarke, who it appears can do no wrong.

In the space of two balls Clarke caressed a single from Imran Tahir to bring up his 200 before Hussey lifted a full delivery a foot outside off stump over the mid-wicket boundary for six to bring up his 100.

Hussey fell for 103 on what would be the final ball of the first day, bowled by a superb in-swinger from Dale Steyn.

So, after 86.5 overs, Australia’s in control and the news doesn’t get any better for South Africa – all-rounder Jacque Kallis left the field during play after taking the wickets of Cowan and Ponting, and is unlikely to bowl and will be hindered with the bat. The tourists were also hit by the last minute omission of Vernon Philander through injury.

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