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Debutant Clark puts Australia on top

Written by: Staff
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CAPE TOWN, Mar 16 (Reuters) Debutant paceman Stuart Clark took four wickets for 34 to put Australia on top on the first day of the first test against South Africa today.

Clark helped reduce South Africa, who won the toss and chose to bat, to 155 for eight at tea.

The match started under heavy cloud cover and a pitch that offered movement off the seam provided further assistance for the bowlers.

Australia preferred Clark to leg-spinner Stuart MacGill and the decision paid dividends when Clark took key wickets in South Africa's top and middle order.

Fast bowler Michael Kasprowicz drew first blood for Australia when he moved a delivery off the seam back into the right-handed AB de Villiers, who drove down the wrong line and was bowled through the gate for eight.

Clark first struck when he angled a delivery across the left-handed Graeme Smith, who pushed forward tentatively and edged a catch to keeper Adam Gilchrist to be dismissed for 19.

Jacques Kallis, who scored six, became Clark's second victim when he cut at a short delivery and was caught by Matthew Hayden in the gully.

Nine balls before lunch Herschelle Gibbs drove down the wrong line to Clark and was bowled for 18 as South Africa stumbled to 61 for four.

Jacques Rudolph was out eight balls after lunch when he steered a Kasprowicz delivery to first slip, where Shane Warne juggled the ball and kicked it upward as he fell backward. Gilchrist was on hand to complete the catch.

Clark had Mark Boucher well caught by a diving Gilchrist for 16 as South Africa lurched to 104 for six in the ninth over after lunch.

Ashwell Prince stood firm for 105 minutes and 67 balls for his 17 before he edged Brett Lee to Hayden in the gully.

Hayden took his 100th test catch when he dived forward to hold a low chance offered by Andrew Hall off Lee in the third over before tea. Prince's 24 was South Africa's top score.

The game is the first between the two teams since last Sunday's record-breaking one-dayer, won by South Africa.

REUTERS PDS PM1932

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