Australian captain Michael Clarke has praised the comeback of his entire bowling attack in the drawn first Test and attempted to hose down speculation left-armer Mitchell Starc is a certain selection next week in Adelaide.

Victorian tearaway James Pattinson was clearly the most impressive paceman at a batsman-friendly Gabba, finishing with a match-high five wickets and roughing up the South African top-order.

Pattinson looked like a long-term spearhead for the hosts as he delivered a fiery last-day spell that sent Proteas captain Graeme Smith packing, but Clarke was at pains to play down the 22-year-old's influence and development.

The skipper and man of the match was more intent on complimenting his bowling group for bouncing back in the final three days to take a moral victory after South Africa (450 and 5-166) finished day one at 2-255.


"I've been pleased (with Pattinson)," Clarke said. "I've been very pleased with all the bowlers. But I don't want to get too far ahead of ourselves ... he's played only six Tests.

"He came back really well after day one, all the bowlers did.

"The wicket was pretty good to bat on, to be able get the South African top order out on two occasions is a real positive for us."

Clarke denied reports Ben Hilfenhaus and Peter Siddle were in a final day bowl-off to remain in the team for the second Test at the Adelaide Oval, starting Thursday week.

"I think that's a long way from being on the money," he said.

Starc was 12th man in Brisbane and the tall, left-armer is expected to gain promotion to bring better balance and variety to the pace attack.

While economical at the Gabba, Hilfenhaus appears the most likely scapegoat after taking just two tail-end wickets in 47 overs of hard toil.

Siddle finished with three wickets for the match but was more penetrative, while Nathan Lyon fought back well with 2-41 in the second innings.

South Africa have their own bowling dramas after Australia made 5(dec)-565 against their four-prong pace battery and Clarke was unbeaten on a Gabba record 259.

"We have a few things to improve on," Smith said.

"I think our bowling we can certainly raise a level a lot on what we showed in this game and I look forward to seeing that."