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Cricket-Debutant Clark puts Australia on top

Written by: Staff
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CAPE TOWN, Mar 16 (Reuters) Paceman Stuart Clark took five wickets for 55 on his debut to snatch the advantage for Australia on the first day of the first test against South Africa today.

Clark helped restrict South Africa to 205 all out after they won the toss and chose to bat.

Australia were 63 for one in reply at the close. Matthew Hayden was 22 not out with Ricky Ponting on 20.

Clark maintained a disciplined line and length and made good use of the responsive pitch. Fast bowler Brett Lee offered Clark steady support and took three for 37.

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 clean-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 Hayden in the gully.

WRONG LINE 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 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, who scored 24, off Lee in the third over before tea.

Nicky Boje hit five fours in his aggressive 31 before being trapped in front by Clark.

Andre Nel and Makhaya Ntini shared 32 off 37 balls in a bright last-wicket stand, the biggest of the innings.

Fast bowlers Ntini and Nel returned to open the bowling for South Africa, and they bristled with aggression in opening spells in which they regularly beat openers Justin Langer and Hayden.

Nel, whose first three overs were maidens, trapped Langer in front for 16 in the 10th over with a delivery that hit him above the knee roll and seemed destined to bounce over his wicket.

Ponting struggled to find the right line when facing Nel, who took one for 14 from eight overs.

REUTERS PG RAI0132

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