South Africa, fired by a devastating spell of bowling from Dale Steyn and sustained by the batting of Hashim Amla, took a firm grip on the third and final Test against Australia yesterday to end day two with an imposing lead of 292.
Amla finished the day one run short of his 18th Test century with South Africa on 230-2 after paceman Steyn had taken 4-40 as the Proteas dismissed the hosts for 163 for a first-innings lead of 62.
Skipper Graeme Smith put on a quickfire 178 for the second wicket with Amla before departing for 84 late in the day.
Australia had started the day on 33-2 in front of a bumper WACA crowd hoping to see Ricky Ponting score a century in his penultimate innings and drive his country toward a series victory and the No. 1 Test ranking that would go with it.
However, Steyn, who took three wickets at the cost of just four runs in the morning sun, and fellow quicks Philander (2-55) and Morne Morkel (1-19) unleashed the barrage the Australians had feared all series.
The first ball of Steyn’s first over dispatched opener David Warner caught behind for 13 after a fruitless TV appeal, while his fourth sent nightwatchman Nathan Lyon back to the pavilion for 7.
Ponting, welcomed by a standing ovation, managed just four runs before he was trapped LBW by Philander, his subsequent appeal to the TV umpire having less merit than Warner’s.
With captain Michael Clarke at the crease, Australia were still thinking about a first-innings lead but Steyn ended those thoughts with his best ball of the series.
A fullish ball that moved away at the last moment induced Clarke into an edge that AB de Villiers caught behind the stumps.
Only Wade, who scored a bright 68, and debutant pace bowler John Hastings, the last Australian out for 32, offered any real resistance to the South Africans.
After a bright start, South African opener Alviro Petersen was dismissed by Mitchell Johnson for 23.
Smith fell when Nathan Lyon dived low to claim the ball at deep square leg off Mitchell Starc.