Clarke and Warner star for Aussies

Michael Clarke made an unbeaten 92 on the first day of the third Test against South Africa (AP)

Michael Clarke made an unbeaten 92 on the first day of the third Test against South Africa (AP)

First published in National Sport News © by

Australia captain Michael Clarke withstood some brutal bowling from the South Africa attack to make a magnificent unbeaten 92 in his side's 331 for three on the opening day of the first Test at Newlands.

Clarke was left bloodied and bruised after being targeted with a barrage of bouncers from around the wicket by Morne Morkel, but was still there fighting at the close as he returned to form in style.

Morkel rained down short balls at Clarke, hitting him in the helmet and at one point splitting his thumb, but an equal mixture of courage and skill helped the batsman cope with the treatment admirably.

His innings, which came from 181 balls and included nine fours, even eclipsed David Warner's 135, which set the platform for the tourists' impressive day.

Dale Steyn was the first man to strike for the Proteas by removing Chris Rodgers for 25, edging to Graeme Smith at first slip.

Fellow opener Warner, though, was at the top of his game and he survived the loss of another partner in Alex Doolan, who fell to Vernon Philander for 20, Steyn taking the catch at mid-on.

That pair had taken Australia to 138 and, with Clarke now at the crease, Australia continued to flourish, despite the savage onslaught from the hosts' quicks.

Warner's knock finally came to an end after 152 balls, including 12 fours and a six, to leave the tourists 217 for three. JP Duminy was the man to make the breakthrough, as Warner sent an outside edge through to AB de Villiers.

But the Proteas were soon on the back foot again as Clarke and Steve Smith put on an unbroken 114, the latter finishing the day on 50 not out.

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