Saturday, 01 December 2012 11:03
PERTH: South Africa struck back with a vengeance on the second day of the third and final Test against Australia at the WACA Ground on Saturday.
Defending just 225 after winning the toss and electing to bat on the opening day, the Proteas claimed four early wickets on the second day to tear the heart out of Australia's top order.
At lunch, Australia was struggling at 118 for seven in reply, with wicketkeeper-batsman Matthew Wade offering the lone resistance for the home side with a counter-attacking 60 not out, including three sixes.
Test newcomer John Hastings was on two.
Resuming at 33-2, the home team collapsed dramatically in the opening 30 minutes of play as pace bowler Dale Steyn (4-33) rediscovered his best form in a stunning spell.
In his first over of the day, Steyn removed careless opener David Warner, caught behind for 13 when he slashed at a wide delivery, despite the Australian asking for the decision to be reviewed.
Steyn then removed night watchman Nathan Lyon three balls later for seven, caught at gully by Faf du Plessis.
Champion batsman Ricky Ponting strode to the crease to huge applause in his final Test, but lasted just over 10 minutes before being trapped lbw by Vernon Philander (2-41), another Australian decision review failing.
Australian skipper Michael Clarke's golden run of form came to an end when he became Steyn's fourth victim, caught behind for just five from a searing delivery.
The home team was 45-6, having lost four wickets for just 11 runs.
It would have been 45-7 had Hashim Amla's throw at the stumps from mid-off, with Wade well out of his crease and having given up the cause, been a direct hit.
After that near-miss, Wade and Hussey steadied the ship for Australia by putting on 55 runs, before Morne Morkel (1-13) found the outside edge of Hussey's bat and had him caught at first slip by Graeme Smith for 12.
Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2012