Clarke Inspires Australia Fightback

Clarke Misses Champions Trophy Opener

Australia captain Michael Clarke scored a brilliant unbeaten double century to give the them a remarkable 37-run first innings lead on the fourth day of the first test against South Africa.

Clarke was not the only Australian batsmen to contribute, there was a maiden century from opener Ed Cowan in a record stand of 259.

Mike Hussey also chipped in with runs finishing the day on 86 not out, with Australia 487 for four at stumps on day four.

It was Clarke's sixth test century, and his third double hundred, in the 15 tests since he was named captain last year .

When he carried his bat back to the pavilion at the end of the day to the raucous cheers of a sparse crowd at the famous Brisbane ground, Clarke had faced 350 balls over 504 minutes and scored 21 fours.

"I'm very happy with that," Clarke, who accumulated his 1,000th test run of the year during the innings, said in an interview on the boundary.

"We're in a great position with a 30-odd lead. I'd like another 70 odd runs in the morning and then I want to have a crack with the ball. We'll see what happens."