The Proteas celebrated a victory of sorts when Morne Morkel bowled Clarke for 230 early on the second day of the second Test at Adelaide for his first dismissal of the series.
Graeme Smith's team were becoming sick of the sight of Clarke at the batting crease as he amassed an unchecked 489 runs, including his unbeaten 259 in the Brisbane opener, before he was finally dismissed.
In doing so the Australian captain became the first batsman in the history of Test cricket to post four 200s in a calendar year.
Clarke, batting at number five, hit 40 boundaries and a six off 257 balls as he carried on with his blazing batting form after scoring an unconquered 329 and 210 in last season's home series against India.
Since assuming the Australian captaincy in March last year, Clarke has made 1,844 runs at 76.83, including a triple-century, three double-centuries, and three tons.
He is also Test cricket's leading run-getter this year with 1,271 at 127.10 and if his rich form continues he could surpass Ricky Ponting's Australian record for most runs in a calendar year of 1,544 set in 2005.
In the process Clarke, known as "Pup", has buried the perception of a flashy reputation and memories of him once being booed by home fans as he came out to bat -- only 26 percent of 21,000 respondents in a newspaper poll backed him as he became Australia's 43rd Test captain.
Now all he gets are standing ovations as he attempts to lead Australia back to the world number one ranking at South Africa's expense in this series.
"When you look at the innings I've made big scores, it's the counter-attack, it's the being positive, it's playing my natural game and there's risk there," Clarke said.
"A bit of luck along the way but you need it in this game. I remember playing England through the Australian summer a couple of years ago and I couldn't make a run.
"I remember when I came back from getting dropped that I said I want to make the most of the good days.
"And that's all I really feel I'm doing. I feel like when I'm getting in, I'm trying to cash in because I know there will be some tough days around the corner again."