Flippin' woah - another awkward lifting delivery from Mitch screams past McLaren who lifts his arms to try and evade it. There's a noise and Haddin goes up for the catch behind, although the bowler seems unsure. Not-out, and Clarke reviews it instead - replays show that it just nicked the sleeve as it passed Ryan's under-arm, so the decision stands. McLaren survives...but only for one more ball. OUT! Oh dear, this time he does nick it through to the keeper, and the sixth wicket falls with South Africa on 140! Too good from Johnson, and McLaren couldn't deal with it this time around and has to go for 6. Robin Peterson is tasked with replacing him, and a quality ball sees the left-hander playing back and edging the ball over the slip cordon for four. Well, what drama, what an over! The consistency from Johnson has been simply outstanding, and the Proteas have had little answers for him as the English did before them. Brutal, effective bowling and he's sure to be the man-of-the-match yet again. 50 overs done and dusted now, with SA 336 adrift.
Enterprise shown from AB as he takes a single off the first ball after the break, and McLaren helps himself to one as well before the world's number one batsman dances down the pitch to clout the ball right down the ground - four! Great shot from the Titans player, and he uses his feet once more to claim a single down to long-on as well. Slightly expensive over for the off-spinner there.
We're back, and Ryan McLaren sprints out ahead of his partner de Villiers, not looking too worse for wear, thankfully. Nathan Lyon will kick off the evening session here at Centurion, with AB to face.
132/5 leaves the Proteas short by 350 runs, and they're clinging on desperately now with half the side back in the hut. Ryan McLaren will be thankful that he can rest for a few minutes after being banged on the head by an absolute snorter from Mitch, who nearly took his head off with the delivery before that as well. AB de Villiers is still there for the hosts on 39 not-out, but the Aussies will be looking to finish this game off in the final session to give themselves a famous victory. Join us back here in 15 minutes for the last session of day four - don't forget to email us your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org, or we'll send Mitch around to your house with a new ball.
Ryan is getting into line well in his innings so far, first against Lyon and now to Johnson as he defends stoutly. There are runs down the ground for him again though, as he pushes for two and then manages to sway out of the way of a beast delivery that could have taken his head off - Mitch changes tack to go around the stumps and CRACK! Oh no, he's hit him on the head, and McLaren is struggling. That sounded sickening, and the Aussies rush around him to see if he's okay. Out runs the team physio, Brandon Jackson - never nice to see this, thank goodness for the helmet. He took his eyes off the ball and ducked his head, and the ball smacked right into his left ear-guard on the helmet. His ears will still be ringing. Smile on his face though, and relief as he's up and about again - what odds on the next delivery being another bouncer? Nope, length ball outside off is defended well and the umpires take the teams off for tea. What a dramatic end to the session, a session again dominated by the men from down under.
New man McLaren is on-strike to Lyon, and he's playing defensively with a straight bat as he tries to eliminate any danger. He manages to get the last ball of the over away, down past a chasing mid-off for one, and gives himself the dubious honour of taking guard against Mitchell Johnson again.
Whoops, another wayward bouncer zips away from Brad Haddin and skips off the turf to go for five wides - too high to trouble JP Duminy after AB taps a single to point from the over's first delivery. Wait, is that replay of Graeme Smith's dismissal? Nope, this is in real-time as Duminy flicks Johnson straight to Alex Doolan at short-leg - OUT! Third wicket this innings and ten for the match for big Mitch as the crowd is stunned. JP can't believe it as he makes his way off the park, gone for 10 from 60 balls.Excellent work from Doolan, a slight juggle but he held on very well indeed. Not easy to take those so close to the bat, and that's brought Ryan McLaren out from the dressing-room. He does get away off the mark, pushing one past mid-on, but Clarke has a wide grin after getting that crucial wicket with tea approaching.
JP looks a bit more confident facing Lyon now after Johnson at the other end, and drives nicely to mid-on for a scampered single. AB is staying deeper in his crease to the spinner now, leaning back and cutting smartly past point to rack up another single.
AB taps the first ball for a single into the leg-side. Good scrambling in the covers from Chris Rogers prevents Duminy from getting off-strike. Clarke has been using Mitch in short bursts throughout this Test, and he's doing so now to try and rip out another quick wicket or two before tea is called. These two are South Africa's last specialist batsmen, and the Aussies know how important it is to seperate them. JP manages to get Mitch away through the covers, and the South Africans cross for two. Overpitched, fuller ball from the pace-man.
Short ball from Lyon is square-cut nicely off the back-foot from Duminy, but yet again is unable to pierce the field - settles for one run instead. AB does what we expect to do - uses his feet once more, clipping the ball down to long-on for a single to add to his name. There's a murmur going around the crowd as Michael Clarke throws the ball to Mitchell Johnson - you expect fireworks every time he comes on to bowl now!
There was a long chat between him and his captain at the end of his last over, but Siddle is continuing with his spell to AB de Villiers. There's a straight short-mid-on in place to try and coax an error out of him, but AB prefers to drive one into the covers, albeit for no runs. Siddle still wants to entice the man to edge behind to the cordon, but he pushes one too far wide in an attempt to do. No runs, with de Villiers looking patient and unflustered at the crease.
Here's Nathan Lyon, getting through his overs fairly quickly to prevent any over-rate headaches for his captain. de Villiers and Duminy both trade singles before the bowler decides to rather attack over the wicket to the right-handed AB instead. The batsman calmly work the ball to leg, trotting through for an additional single as short-leg cools his heels for now.
Siddle ploughs on, and Duminy cracks a cover-drive that deserved a boundary but instead found the fielder - no run. A man comes in now to a catching position at short-cover, but JP defends instead. He tries to open the face and tweak the ball past gulley, but no luck there either for him - maiden over, Siddle's eleventh, and nelson remains on the scoreboard.
More positivity and footwork from AB as he times one well down to deep-mid-off, and JP too scampers a single after using his feet, calling immediately for a quick run as he worked the ball to mid-wicket. South Africa end the over on "nelson", 111 - the supersticious number well-known to cricket fans and popularised by skipping former-umpire David Shephard. We're now halfway through the afternoon session, with Australia still 371 runs to the good as they search for 6 wickets for a famous win.
No run as one again bounces a bit low from Peter Siddle around the stumps to JP. Concerning to see, even more difficult to predict and deal with. He defends well with a straight bat to a straight ball, and taps one to point with no reward. Siddle ends the over with a great delivery that beats the bat.
Smart back-foot cover-drive from JP can't pierce the field and limits him to just one, after de Villiers flicks one behind square off his hip for two and a single off a couple of deliveries..
Peter Siddle is back for a new spell, replacing the successful Ryan Harris. No runs as Duminy defends stoically, getting into line well and leaving as soon as the ball past his off-stump. There hasn't been any real swing to speak of for Sids and Rhino today, but their strength lies in their consistent line and length, plugging away until the batsman is forced into a mistake.
AB has long been known for his positive nature against the spinners, and he claims three more runs by pushing a shorter one through the off-side. Duminy manages his first run from Lyon's bowling, driving into the covers as he used his feet to get to the pitch of the ball well. End of the over, and we'll have the first drinks break this afternoon - why not grab something frosty yourself? I'll have a still water, please - no ice.
Around the wicket delivery from Harris to Duminy just about rolls through to keeper Haddin - very low bounce as the batsman tried to prod at it. Variable bounce is enough to strike fear into even the most accomplished batsmen - makes it difficult. JP does manage to fend one away, with the ball dropping immediately to ground before the man at square-leg could snatch it up. No further runs added.
Nathan does well to spot de Villiers coming down the track at him, adjusting his line and spearing it down leg to hit the batsman on the pads. No runs from the over, keeping AB quiet for now.
AB comes forward, driving past mid-off to add another run to his tally. He seemed to lose his grip on the bat a little as he played that shot. Harris pounds in a bouncer that takes off, Haddin doing a super job to get airborne and parry the ball down one-handed. Excellent work behind the stumps, and Duminy opens his account and gets South Africa past 100 with two runs dabbed past point.
Nathan Lyon continues, and he aborts an LBW appeal as he realises that it would have missed leg. De Villiers does manage to get him away by moving across his stumps and whipping the ball down to a deep mid-on for one. Duminy gets his first look at the off-spinner, defending solidly to close out the over.
Got him! Harris has nabbed the wicket of Hashim Amla with one that moved slightly away and drew a shot, edging straight to Shaun Marsh who took it at shoulder height at slip. Whoops and hollers from the Aussies, that's another nail driven into the coffin to leave their hosts wobbling on 97/4. Amla has to go for 35. That signals the entrance of JP Duminy...and a HUGE shout for LBW goes up first ball. "No dice" says Aleem Dar, but Harris wants Clarke to review it, which they do. Oh, it looks very good indeed, great line...inside-edge has saved the batsman though. Good decision, nervy start for the left-handed Cobras man. Excellent over from Harris to claim his first wicket of the Test.
A length delivery is turned into a full-toss as AB skips down and bundles it through mid-wicket for one run, and Amla uses his famous wrists well to turn a ball away past leg-slip for a single as well. Three men around the bat with Lyon toiling away from around the wood-work - clearly a plan in action to catch these two trying to flick away into the leg-side.
de Villiers gets forward to defend outside off before dabbing two off the face past point in an unconvincing fashion - he may have initially wanted to leave that, but ended up getting the bat in the way. Harris keeps it straight, but de Villiers uses a solid bat to keep him out for now. Good probing over from Rhino.
Lyon is probing from around the wicket to these two right-handers, no doubt targeting the rough outside their leg-stumps courtesy of the fast bowlers throughout the match. AB is nimble as he uses footwork to punt the bowler down to long-on for one. Pretty sure that Lyon will be ensconced at this end for much of this session, with Michael Clarke rotating his pace-men over at the other end.
The return of Ryan Harris, and his first-ball loosener has Amla flashing it over the second-slip's head for four! Phew, that was a close one, and the batsman looks annoyed with himself for having played such a loose stroke, given the match situation. This partnership is now worth 42 runs, and the deficit is 391 as Nathan Lyon is motioned on to bowl by "Pup" Clarke.
Worked away for four by Hashim Amla, Siddle pushed it a tad leg-side and he's too good to miss out on a ball like that. The crowd get involved as Amla goes past the 6000-run mark in Tests with a lovely drive down the ground for three. Great milestone for the bearded man, but he still has a lot of work to do in this Test match for his side.
Slight movement back from AB and bang! Great back-foot punch through the covers for a smart boundary, made to look easy off the fire-breathing Johnson. A strange T20-like flick-pull from outside off gets de Villiers two more in front of mid-wicket, before he shows off sound technique with a solid forward defence. Short-leg moves to short-midwicket for the last ball of the over, but the batsman confidently leaves a slower one for the keeper to deal with.
Oh, good shot from AB! SA's limited-overs captain on-drives with great balance for a sweetly-timed four down the ground. Siddle responds immediately by putting a ball in that corridor of uncertainty on a good length, the batsman hanging his bat out before hurriedly tucking it in to avoid the edge. Good retort from the bowler. AB does retain the strike for the next hour, managing to get the ball away to point despite being squared up a little - that excited Siddle, but no luck just yet.
Moustachioed Mitch to barrel in from the other end - steepling bounce as Hashim ducks to evade one that pitched on leg and zinged past him. Six men in catching positions for Amla, including a man at square-cover to try and plug the area he's punched several boundaries through today already. He does try and pierce the covers with a bunt, but good fielding prevents a run being taken. Eight overs bowled by Johnson so far, and he's picked up two wickets for 27 to add to his seven sticks in the first innings.
Peter Siddle gets us away, with a short-mid-on almost standing on top of the non-striker at the edge of the deck. Short-mid-wicket and a short-leg also in place for AB de Villiers, lying in wait for anything he tries to flick into the on-side. Siddle gets his line a bit wonky though, and AB is able to glance fine off his hip for four runs.
Welcome back to the highveld, ladies and gentleman, for the post-lunch session. The Proteas are still trying to hold on, but they'll have their work cut out for them with the pitch displaying variable bounce and the Johnson threat looming ever-large.
We've had an email from Charles, who opines "This is great, I thought SA. would crush them but this is real perspective on how far the Aussies have come on. Superb entertainment. From a battered England fan." I think South African fans are starting to get a taste of what it must have been like to be an England supporter over the last few months as well, Charles.
Send us your thoughts on the state of the game, David Warner's favourite brand of shampoo or anything really over at email@example.com - we read them all. We may even post some of the better ones here, so get typing. We'll see you all back here in half-an-hour for the afternoon session here in Centurion. Bye for now.
417 runs still to the good, Australia are confident with seven wickets left for them to take to win the game. Johnson blitzed out both of South Africa's openers in double-quick time, but Faf du Plessis and Amla dug in and brought things back for the hosts until du Plessis was trapped in front by a grubber from Siddle. Huge pressure rests on AB de Villiers as he and Hashim endeavour to keep the Aussies at bay after lunch - theirs is a critical partnership.
Wild one from big Mitch sees a bouncer sailing high over Haddin on the leg-side, and he's lucky not to concede four byes as the fielder comes across and reins it in for three. This is an extremely important partnership for South Africa, and a big gasp goes up as another one keeps a little low as Amla drives and misses, the ball missing the stumps as well and bouncing away off the keeper's gloves for four. That came in a little as well, and could so easily have ended Hashim's innings there - he lives on, and lunch is called with the score on 66/3.
Siddle is angling in a bit wider on the crease now, hoping he can get one to come in and keep low like the one that got him Faf's wicket last time up. AB de Villiers gets his innings up and about by opening the face and driving well to the cover boundary - four runs. Siddle does get one to rap AB on the pad, but it pitched too straight and headed down leg, impacting the pad fairly high up. Inconsistent bounce at times, and that will be a bit of a worry for these two batsmen as the day goes on.
Johnson is still bent on coming around the stumps to Hash, and the batsman lets a couple go through before clouting one to a wide mid-off, who mis-fields as he tumbles over trying to stop the ball. Two runs to Amla, and SA stumble past the 50-run mark. The crowd cheer heartily as their bearded hero then plays yet another beauty of a back-foot cover-drive that races away for another four. He's played several of those this morning, and they've all been equally easy on the eye. Oh, big appeal goes up from Haddin as he leaps to snaffle one that darted down leg, Hashim having a flick at it. No appeal at all from the bowler, and replays show that the bat was far from the ball when it went past the hip. Not-out, and rightly so.
Peter Siddle returns after the two-over Warner experiment with a still-fairly-new nut. He's still operating in that awkward channel outside off, with Faf leaving before he gets one on the stumps to keep low...bam! LBW! The umpire wastes no time in raising the finger, and he's gone. That kept low indeed, hitting the batsman just above the ankle and nipping back in a fraction. The third wicket has fallen, and Faf du Plessis trudges back having scored 18 for his country. Australia are jubilant - this is just what they wanted. AB de Villiers will be the new man in, and huge expectations rest on the top-ranked batsman's shoulders. South Africa are now 49/3.
Faf swivel-pulls a shorter one well to ground and a single is credited as Mitchell Johnson returns to the attack. Can these two keep him out? He tries a few shorter ones to an uninterested Amla, before trying to do the same from around the wicket. Hash does well to defend and leave the rising ball outside his off-stump. Plenty of bounce for Johnson, who is still operating in the mid-140km/h bracket - swift, wouldn't you agree?
It's worth noting that David Warner's last Test wicket was in fact Hashim Amla, stumped in the Adelaide match during the 2012 tour. Hmm.
Warner gets a second over, and a slightly shorter length allows the batsman to stay on the back foot to either play or leave his deliveries. Both Faf and Amla help themselves to singles around the corner to fine-leg, and Hash is able to keep out a fairly innocous attempted yorker as well. We're about 20 minutes away from the lunch break, and Michael Clarke would dearly love another wicket before then to really rub the South Africans' faces in the dirt.
Ooh, nice from Harris as one jags in a bit to keep Amla on his toes to defend, hitting him in the mid-riff. Crafty stuff! A straight-drive back from Faf is stopped by the bowler, who clearly prevents a certain four after Amla gets off strike with a single square on the on-side.
With Shane Watson out of the team, Clarke has called on Warner to provide a few auxiliary overs. Warner has usually bowled leg-spin when coming on to bowl in the past for Australia, but he's shunting down some medium-pacers at the moment. Decent over, and just a single to Hashim Amla off it via a clip to mid-wicket
Bit of a surprise as David Warner's name is bellowed over the PA by the ground announcer as the new man to bowl. Interesting move from Clarke, who reckons that Warner can make a breakthrough with some part-time medium-pacers.
Good ball from Harris goes past the outside edge of Faf's bat, just shaped away slightly on a great length. Things have quietened down a tad with Johnson out of the attack, but Harris and Siddle are both excellent bowlers. The Proteas will do well not to underestimate them, despite their less-flashy approach. Harris keeps nagging away on a good length, but du Plessis leaves a couple well to close out the over.
Oh lovely, it's a cover-drive off the back foot from Hashim Amla and it races to the fence for four. That was a pleasure to watch - he plays one that doesn't bounce as much rather well too, defensively. It was a good ball on the stumps that didn't get up much, and the batsman did well to get down and keep it out. The highest winning fourth-innings score at Centurion is 251 - South Africa will have to pull out all the stops and guts it out if they're to survive the remaining five sessions, let alone try and reach Australia's target of 482.
Harris relies on line-and-length married with swing, but he's not getting any real movement this morning. Faf is wary, letting a couple sail through to the keeper before defending solidly into the covers. Good technique, and his feet seem to be moving well. No runs from this over.
Change of ends for Ryan Harris, replacing Mitch.
Played in the air, catch is the cry - no, four runs luckily past the third slip for Faf. A fuller ball has the batsman on-driving a little more confidently, and mid-on has to turn and chase to save a fourth run. Good timing, leant into the drive nicely. The end of this Peter Siddle over signals drinks.
Screech from Johnson as one down leg is flicked away past an acrobatic Brad Haddin for four - four leg-byes, though, says Aleem Dar. Came off the thigh pad, but the next ball for four doesn't. Classy back-foot square drive from Amla heads straight to the boundary. The obligatory bouncer is fired in, but the batsman is up to it and ducks under it comfortably. Would you believe it, a third boundary off the over as Amla unleashes another exquisite square-drive - this time behind point to show off his class once more. Good fight shown in this over from the bearded maestro.
Four slips in place for Sid Vicious as he scowls in to Faf du Plessis, who plays forward defensively. Not often these days that you get to see so many men placed in the cordon, but such is Australia's position of dominane right now. Siddle is able to get one to pitch and jag away nicely, with the batsman drawing his bat inside the line in time to evade it - good ball! A maiden over to start with for the Victorian pacer.
Peter Siddle has been called upon to replace Ryan Harris, who seemed out of his sorts in his three overs this morning.
Amla has a look of intense concentration on his face, and is able to leave the ball alone well in this over. Mitch's line not up to scratch this time, and he sprays one particularly wide past off, lucky to not be called for it. Maiden.
Faf flicks one angled down leg through mid-wicket for a classy four, and Harris bowls the next one a little shorter to be pulled away easily for another boundary. Big cheers for Faf as he shows some intent - Harris struggling to find his rhythm so far this morning, and he still doesn't have a wicket to his name in this Test. Nothing too worrying for Clarke just yet, as Johnson is doing the business for him at the other end.
Graeme Smith hit that catch to Doolan out of the middle of the bat. Excellent reflexes from the new kid om the block. South Africa reeling once more in the face of express pace.
Word on the street is that Johnson is feeling ill - he definitely showed few signs of that in his previous over. A cheer goes up as Amla gets off the mark with a push into the covers, you'd swear he'd just gone to fifty such was the noise from this appreciable Centurion ground. Johnson gets to bowl to his favourite, Smith, and the batsman does well to play back and open the face square to pierce the field for a boundary. Good shot, and that will give him some heart - oh no, he's turned one straight to short-leg behind square off his legs! OUT! Great stuff from Alex Doolan, and that came at him FAST. Great catch. Faf du Plessis replaces his captain and has to fend one away off the glove, luckily away from the fielder at short-leg. Didn't look too confident there - hard to be confident, admittedly, when the ball is honing in on you at 150km/h.
After the excitement of the last over, this one is a little more quiet as Harris takes up the challenge against Smith, who's all defense. One that he tries to turn away off his body lands a little too close to the short-leg fielder, but it doesn't carry. Maiden over for the Rhino.
What do you think of Johnson's bowling performances in the Ashes and now here in SA? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
Defence from Petersen as the tormentor, Johnson, fires in at him. The next ball is fast, but wayward down the leg-side. He has the most threatening moustache an Aussie quick has had since the days of Merv Hughes - a way-too-short attempted bumper down leg has the beating of keeper Haddin, and flies away for four byes. Big Merv, whereever he is, would not have enjoyed that, Haddin can only grin. Things change rather quickly though, as his fifth ball pitches and begs Alviro to play. All the batsman can do is prod, edge and give Mitch his 250th Test wicket - that's OUT, chaps! Early strike, and Hashim Amla gets a snorter to deal with that rams into his helmet as he lept up to try and get behind it. Took a little touch on the gloves before it hit Hash in the grill - vicious.
Three slips, and Alviro leaves one on fourth-stump, and gets a ball wide of the mid-on fielder to notch up the first run of the innings - another 481 to go, but its doubtful that South Africa will be aiming at that right. Smith gets one going across him and has a back-foot waft at it. Should have left that, perhaps some early nerves from the barrel-chested left-handed opener. First over done, first run acquired.
In their last two escape-acts in Test cricket, South Africa survived 148 and 138 overs in Adelaide and Johannesburg respectively. This time, it will be closer to 170 for the locals. Their second innings is about to get underway, and Graeme Smith and Alviro Petersen will have to contend with some slightly uneven bounce in this hour-and-a-half before the break. Petersen to face Harris, one of the heroes of the Ashes in England last year.
Perhaps Michael Clarke saw the assistance that Steyn and Morkel were getting with an old ball this morning and reckoned that his seamers would love to have a crack on it with a brand-new cherry. South Africa now five-and-three-quarter sessions to survive against the bowling attack that have skittled both them and England with ease over the last few months.
Steyn gallops in from the Hennops River End to Shaun Marsh, and he gets the nick through to the keeper - OUT! Fuller length, Marsh nibbled and the thin edge carried to AB to signal the fall of the fourth wicket. And what's this - well well, Michael Clarke has declared! The Australian second-innings is closed at 290/4, and the total set to win is an imposing 481 runs. I don't think anyone predicted this declaration, but the skipper is clearly confident that he has more than enough, and plenty of time, to run through this Proteas line-up.
Morne gets Clarke to prod at a ball outside off that comes in slightly, testing delivery for the Aussie no. 5. The bowler is perhaps bowling a little too short this over, enabling the captain to leave on length rather easily. He gets it right to have Clarke fending on a fourth-stump line again, but no edge. Pacey over, and his second maiden of the morning so far. Australia are 290/3.
Clarke swats at one outside off, but no contact is made. The first run of the day comes from a leg-bye, with the skipping turning a straight one off his pad to fine-leg. AB is getting a workout behind the stumps as a bouncer from Steyn flies high over the batsman's head, a pretty big leap stopping the four byes - the ball is wided by umpire Illingworth on height, though. The edge is coaxed out of Marsh, but it gets to the slip fielder after having bounced far short. Fire and brimstone from the Proteas' seamers, but Johnson will be licking his lips as he watches the way this pitch is still got some help for the likes of him.
As expected, its Dale Steyn at the other end to Michael Clarke. Have at it, boyos!
Appreciable bounce from Morne's first ball around the stumps, rapping Marsh on the gloves as he got up to defend. Plenty of aggression from the bowler as the next one thuds into the shoulder as the batsmen tried to duck away - ouch! Early battle-scars for the Western Australian lefty. Morkel's pace is right up there as well in this first over - he was struggling a little bit with his shoulder yesterday afternoon and spent some time off the field, so its good to see him firing it in now. Marsh leaves a couple that fly into AB's gloves at pace, and the last ball of the over sees a genuine play-and-miss, superb ball that beat the man all ends up. Vicious first over from the tall Morkel, and hopefully that will signal South Africa's intent and attitude for the day.
The players are making their way out to the middle, and Shaun Marsh takes his guard on 44. Captain Michael Clarke is his partner, not out on 17, and Morne Morkel is the bowler with ball in hand first-up.
Lovely, sunny weather out there and the good news is that the crowd is streaming in, with the grass banks filling up nicely. There'll be plenty of vocal support for the home team, who'll be hoping to put yesterday's embarassing fielding performance behind them. They dropped David Warner three times and missed a run-out as he cruised to a sixth Test ton, and their groundwork was uncharacteristically sloppy. They'll have to turn over a new leaf, and quickly.
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South Africa will have to dig extremely deep if they're to salvage any pride from this contest, channelling Faf du Plessis' epic rear-guard against the self-same opponents last time out in Adelaide. Can they recover from one of their worst days in the field in recent memory and prove their mettle as world number one? Stay tuned, it's going to be a fascinating day here.
Shaun Marsh and captain Clarke are at the crease, and their partnership has grown to 45 runs. There's a good chance that the Aussies will go hard this morning to push their overall lead past 500, declare and get their firebrand left-arm slinger Mitch Johnson to have a dart at the Proteas before lunch.
Good morning everyone, and welcome back to SuperSport Park here in Centurion for the fourth day of the first Test. Australia are firmly on top, with a lead of 479 over Graeme Smith's men.
Thanks for joining us today - we look forward to your company tomorrow morning at 10:30am SAST for the fourth day's play. Remember to send through your questions and comments to us at firstname.lastname@example.org - see you tomorrow. My name is Gareth Allison, bye for now.
Alex Doolan showed good composure and a calm head after a quiet start, ending his debut Test with 89 to put pressure on the now fit-again Shane Watson for the second Test in Port Elizabeth. For now, South Africa need to find answers, and quickly - their attack and their poor efforts in the field today have handed them one of their most demoralising days in Test cricket for many a moon.
South Africa have plenty to think about, and this won't be a Valentines Day they'll look back on fondly. Only AB de Villiers, with 91 runs to his credit, stood firm in the wake of a vicious assualt by Mitchell Johnson, the left-armer snatching 7/68 in a brutal display that bundled the hosts out for a mere 206. The Proteas then missed three chances from David Warner, giving the opener free reign to cash in and compile his sixth Test hundred in some fashion.
This partnership between Clarke and Shaun Marsh has now swelled to 45, and the lead is an imposing 479 runs with two days to play - and Australia aren't done yet.
Clarke defends after using his feet a little, and duly gets the ball away through the cover area for one. Marsh, too, circumespectly gets behind the ball, and its he who claims the last run of the day, a single from the last allotted delivery. The umpires call time, removing the bails and ending a day of utter domination by the visiting Australians. They've completely bulldozed the Proteas, who have looked clueless at times throughout the day. What a way to lay on the pressure in the first Test of a series.
Last over of the day coming up, and it's going to be courtesy of Robin Peterson.
Morkel to Marsh, and it's all defence until Shaun can't resist and steers one well down to the unprotected third-man boundary for yet another boundary in that area today. It's really cost the Proteas a fair amount of runs today - easy runs.
Peterson is wided yet again for pushing the ball too far down the leg-side to the right-hander, umpire Richard Illingworth taking no nonsense in that regard. Things have quietened down now, and I'm sure we'll just see the odd single and more defensive strokes as play draws to a close.
Morne Morkel returns, and Clarke has to deal with an absolute jaffer that hits a crack and takes off. Unplayable, like a speedy leg-break, and Morne has a grin on his face as he turns back from his follow-through. The batsman is looking to leave as much as possible, shouldering arms to let the ball go through to the keeper on several occasions for several deliveries. No runs from that short burst from Morne, and we're almost coming to the end of this day here at SuperSport Park - ten minutes left in the day's play.
A ball from Robbie P lands in the rough and spits out of it enough to hit the glove and unsettle Shaun Marsh. That will encourage Nathan Lyon, sitting watching in the dressing-room. AB de Villiers seems to be struggling with his left hand after trying to field an errant throw that came in on the bounce. He doesn't look happy at all, shaking that hand which recently had a metal plate removed from it and grimacing.
Steyn opts to carry on with the short-pitched barrage to captain Clarke from around the stumps, fielders in catching positions at the ready. After having Clarke leave easily, the bowler decides to come back over the pegs, necessitating a change of field. Leg-slip comes out and goes to backward point as fine-leg goes a tad squarer. Clarke stays composed and manages to drop one into the covers for a single, nullifying Smith and Steyn's plans for now.
Shaun Marsh is comfortable against the bowling of Peterson, and he sweeps one that was pitched outside off to the mid-wicket fence for an easy boundary - no-one out to prevent that, I'm afraid. No real threat, and the defensive line from the spinner is making things all too easy for the two Aussies out in the middle.
A delivery from Steyn shoots up, perhaps from a crack, and hits the top edge of Shaun Marsh's bat to fly high and over the slips for a boundary - pity for the bowler, testing delivery.
Full-tosses always light up batsmens' eyes, and Michael Clarke doesn't miss out here as he sweeps one from Robbie P straight into the square-leg boundary for four. Bang - got what it deserved, and the shoulders drop a little more.
Dale Steyn returns for a late burst, Marsh turning him down to fine-leg straight away for one. The bowler decides on attacking Clarke from around the wicket, but strays too much down leg and the ball ricochets off the thigh-pad for four. That didn't bring the man at short-leg into play at all - hmm. There's definitely a short approach planned for the Australian captain, as a leg-gully slots into place as well. No luck for Steyn though, as Clarke is able to clip one off his hip to evade that exact man, and four more runs go against the bowler's name. Leg-gully has now been moved to leg-slip, but the batsman evades the last ball of the over to survive, and the lead has now passed 450.
Marsh gets his captain on strike with another late dab down to short-third-man, before Peterson is wided for straying too far down the leg-side to the new man Clarke. Clarke is known for his deftness at playing spin, and he skips out of his crease to a tossed-up delivery to loft the ball over mid-off for his first boundary. Didn't quite middle it, but that was more than good enough to clear the man and run to the fence. The aggression continues from these Aussie batsmen, and the South Africans all seem to wear the same weary, resigned expression on their faces.
OUT! Duminy strikes with a delivery that wasn't amazing, pitched wide of off from around the wicket, but Doolan had a waft and got an edge to AB de Villiers behind. Disappointment for the young man, but he's played well to help his side really put their foot on the South Africans' throats. He goes for 89, and his captain Michael Clarke skips down the stairs from the dressing-room to the middle in double-quick time. He faces a pair of deliveries before working a skidder away to third-man to open his account.
JP Duminy hands his cap to the umpire, replacing Ryan McLaren who looked far from penetrative. This will also help to speed up the over-rate, no doubt.
Leg-side line from Peterson, and Doolan is able to leave extremely easily before umpire Illingworth wides one that pitched just a little more leg-side...and it happens again! Two wides, and that's a very negative line from Robbie P. He pitches one fuller on middle, and Alex is happy to drive it down to a deep-mid-off for one.
Doolan has looked comfortable pulling off the back-foot - he definitely favours playing back to the quick men, and he easily does so now to add a single to mid-wicket. McLaren's line hasn't been spot-on, but he's lucky in this over that he's not punished for it. Australia now 430 runs ahead, with only two wickets down.
Peterson to Marsh - no run for several deliveries until the batsman turns one to fine-leg for a comfortable single. Play is scheduled to end in 25 minutes' time, so we'll have to see how many of the 16 overs left we can manage to cram in before the light fades..
McLaren gets one to keep low, but Alex Doolan is able to clip it away to mid-wicket for a single before Shaun Marsh gets yet another boundary for the Aussies, tickling a fuller one from Ryan down the leg-side for an easy four. Big sigh from the South African fans in the ground - this has been one of the worst days of Test cricket their side have played in recent memory. Doolan has moved to 87, just 13 runs away now from a Test century in his first match.
A deft late-cut from Shaun Marsh off the back-foot sees the ball race to the vacant third-man area for four - well-played indeed, almost came off the toe of the bat. He then uses his feet to get to the pitch of the ball and collects it for six - wow, that was a great shot for a man who has quite clearly drawn confidence from his hundred in the first innings! That was connected in the middle of the bat, and Peterson can only turn and watch. More use of the feet sees Marsh tot up another two runs against his name, and the runs continue to flow at over four an over for the tourists.
McLaren around the wicket to Shaun Marsh draws a leading edge that falls in a gap - too early on the shot, was trying to clip it hard and it ended up near point. He looks more assured in pulling the bowler to long-leg for one. Terrible line sees Doolan calmly scoop the ball groundward towards the square-leg boundary, finding the gap for four more. Got on top of that nicely, the tall right-hander.
Doolan uses his feet as he has been confident to do throughout today, but this time skies one as he tries to carve inside-out over cover. Luckily for him, it falls safe with Hashim Amla unable to get close enough to the ball as it hung in the air. Doolan survives, and the drinks cart comes on for the last time today.
Ryan McLaren is on to try his luck, but his line is too far outside off for a couple of balls - that's not going to trouble Alex Doolan in the slightest. He does manage to stand tall and defend the one that is closer to the stumps. The only run from the over is from the final delivery, with Alex Doolan now only 19 runs away from a century on debut for his country.
Doolan plays forward, but gets an outside edge that rolls the ball past slip for a run. Marsh plays out the rest of the Robin Peterson over with little fuss, and there are still 22 overs scheduled for the day's play. Not sure if we'll get all of those in, I'm afraid.
Dean Elgar is back on the field - presumably Morne Morkel is back in the dressing room again.
Doolan stands tall and pats one into the off-side for a single off Dale Steyn. The single brings Shaun Marsh on strike, and the bowler greets him with a proper snorter that rises and bangs into his armpit - ouch! That was quick from Steyn as he blasted that in from around the wicket. Marsh rather hurriedly gets himself off strike, turning a similar delivery around the corner to fine-leg. Doolan looks far more at ease, and does the same to his next delivery faced - Marsh shoulders arms and leaves a misdirected fireball off the last ball of the over. Australia's lead is now exactly 400, and they end the over on 209/2.
Warner dabs Peterson behind the man at point for one, and Robbie decides to have a go at bowling to the right-handed Doolan from over the wicket, allowing him to easily pad it away. He gets a single, but Warner plays back to the next ball and edges it to Graeme Smith waiting in the slips. Finally, another WICKET, and David Warner ends his innings on 115 from 151 balls. He's really put South Africa behind the eight-ball. Shaun Marsh, centurion in the first innings, is his replacement out there.
The partnership between these two Australians has now crept past 200 - 203, to be precise.
Oh dear - attempted pull from Doolan goes high and past a diving AB to cannon into the rope for four. Was that a catch? No, replays show that it came off the batsman's hips, so leg-byes will be credited with the runs. He tries to pull again, but the shot isn't impressive as it comes off a top-edge, landing safely over the in-field towards mid-wicket.
Bam! Take that, Robbie - Doolan comes out of his crease once more, using his feet excellently to loft the ball out of the ground for six! Into the grass banks, and that was connected properly. He's grown in confidence the longer he's been out there, and now he's showing his class.
The crowd chanting as Steyn runs in, with Warner doing his best to disrupt his line by rotating the strike. After several tries, he's only able to pinch a single from the over, worked square into the on-side where he was keen for a second but thwarted by the fielding.
Skipper Graeme Smith has summoned his spear-head, Dale Steyn, to see if he can make any impact. South Africa are nearly past the point of desperation now, you feel.
Hello, Robin Peterson - Doolan uses his feet well to come out and loft the left-arm twiddler high over wide mid-on for four more runs. The timing wasn't crisp, but he certainly got enough of it to be effective. Good aggression shown against the returning spinner.
Two runs worked into the leg-side by Warner yet again - that's been one of his biggest scoring areas today, along with his peppering of the cover boundary. Morne seems to be struggling a little bit with his run-up, pulling out of it on the way to the crease, and not for the first time. His line is a bit awry as well, as he sprays an admittedly quick delivery down leg, testing keeper de Villiers who does well to clean it up.
An interesting fact for you: David Warner's average in the second innings of Tests is an impressive 50.20 - his first innings knocks see him averaging 37.03.
Hook shot, top-edge and that goes high in the air and down to fine-leg for four. The fielder down there was too wide and was unable to get there in time. More excitement as Doolan defends jumping back - Warner wants to scamper through for a naughty single, but Doolan yells no. Philander gets the ball and fires it back at the stumps at the bowler's end but misses - Warner would have been out by inches had the bowler hit. Nothing has gone the Proteas' way today, and they've had a very, very poor day of Test cricket indeed. Doolan cements their misery with a fine cover-drive oozing class to add four more runs to the glut of boundaries we've seen this afternoon.
Another bouncer for Morne, but easy enough for Doolan to get low out of the way of it. He's been there for just over 100 balls now, and has rarely looked rattled. He waits patiently, and the opportunity comes with Morkel offering him a little width to be able to square-drive well off the back foot. Four more to Alex Doolan from Launceston, but he's rapped low on the pad next-up to draw howls of LBW out of the South Africans. Umpire Aleem Dar was definitely not interested, and Graeme Smith's decision to review is unsuccessful - umpire's call, and that would have just clipped leg-stump. That's the second unsuccessful DRS review for South Africa today, and they'll have to wait until the new ball to get their top-up. Australia continue to hold all the aces at the moment.
Just the one slip now for Warner facing Vernon Philander. One ball shoots through a bit low, missing everything - if that had been a liiiiitle bit straighter, it would have crashed into off-strump. There's been a little bit of variable bounce this afternoon, which doesn't bode well for South Africa in the fourth innings when they eventually chase what will be a hefty target. Big Vern slams down a bouncer, and Warner shows restraint to pull out of the hook - the ball hits him on the shoulder as he tried to turn away. Ouch. Maiden over - it's been a while since we've seen one of those.
Doolan tries to pull Morne, but loses interest halfway through and edges it to ground, rolling towards mid-on. He's been quite laid-back for most of his innings, but has shown flashes of aggression and class in going to fifty - he has a highest score of 161 not-out in first-class cricket back in Australia, and has been tipped for the Australian side for a little while now.
A shot turned to mid-wicket sees Warner add two more to his score, as he continues to run well between the wickets. He lets loose yet another drive off the back foot, but its stopped by a diving Duminy to save three runs.
Now it's time for Warner to move closer to his landmark, and he smashes Morne Morkel off the back foot through the covers. Huge shout for LBW against him though, and has that just pitched outside leg? The umpire was not convinced that was out, and Graeme Smith has opted to review it - the height was good, but the ball has indeed just pitched outside leg-stump, nullifying the threat. So close for Morkel, but Warner survives yet again. Great delivery from Morkel, the length was excellent, but he can't replicate it next ball and the batsman cracks one past mid-off for four. That's it, that's his hundred! Sixth century in Tests for David Warner, and he kisses the badge on his helmet and punches the air as his team-mates rise in applause. His driving and cutting has been exceptional today, and insult is firmly added to injury with four leg-byes accruing as well from his thigh pad.
Philander getting Doolan to play, the batsman getting in line nicely to defend on off-stump. A back-foot chop into the covers brings up the batsman's fifty, his first for Australia, as the ball got away from Faf du Plessis there to allow two runs. Another fumble in the field from South Africa, which is extremely unlike them.
Welcome back chaps - the final session is about to get going in Centurion. Grab a seat and get comfortable - here's Vernon Philander.
"One option for the Proteas would be to intergrate Kevin Pietersen into their team, now he is out of central contract with England I am sure he would qualify" reckons Roy. It's not going to happen I'm afraid, Roy, but its an entertaining thought nonetheless.
Debutant Alex Doolan is also on the cusp of his very first Test half-century for the Baggy Greens, and Warner will be looking to go to his sixth century after the break. It's been a tough session for Proteas fans, but Australians staying up late to watch this have certainly been well-rewarded. Join us in around 15 minutes for the final session of this third day's play, and don't forget to send us your thoughts and views on email@example.com
Warner defends before prodding a single down the ground - he's not going to risk his century with a rash shot right on the break. Doolan, too, is circumspect and decides that he'll settle for one off the last ball of this JP Duminy over, also choosing to bunt one down to long-on. The umpires take the bails off to end a session where the wheels have really fallen off for South Africa. This partnership is now 146 runs, and Australia lead by 338 runs with 9 wickets still available to them.
It's Peterson's turn now to be belted for a six by Warner, just like Ryan McLaren before him. Boom - slog-sweep goes over cow-corner to be taken in the crowd, and Warner is nearing another Test century for his country. The last ten overs have seen these two score at 6.5 runs an over, and the innings run-rate is sitting at 4.39. Will Davey get there before the imminent tea break?
Arm-ball from JP almost beats the opener, edged into his pads as he tried to get stuck into it. Muted applause as Warner cracks yet another cover-drive to the boundary to move into the 80s, and this pair settle on trading singles for the rest of this over.
Warner's quietened down of late, but gets hearts in mouths once again by trying to loft Robin Peterson down the ground, but his timing is not spot-on and is lucky to see it bounce once before reaching mid-off. Teasing stuff!
Duminy trundles in from around the wicket, flighting the ball up to a wary Alex Doolan who defends. After a few sighters, he opens the face of the bat to steer a comfortable single down to third-man - the field is spread quite wide with JP bowling.
We'll have the off-spin of JP Duminy in place of Ryan McLaren now. Can he make the breakthrough for the home side?
Variable bounce for Dale Steyn, as Doolan leaves alone outside off. The batsman is able to force off the back-foot though, and we have another boundary behind-square past point. The runs continue to come easily for Australia, and the game is moving further and further away from the Proteas at a rapid pace. Australia completely dominating.
Don't forget, you can send us your feedback and comments on firstname.lastname@example.org - let's hear 'em, folks.
Whammo - six from Davey Warner! Almost down on one knee, he blasts McLaren straight down the ground for a big, big six. The bowler fires back with an attempted bouncer that is too high to be any sort of danger for a man who is well-entrenched at the crease. A punched cover-drive steers the ball wide of the mid-off fielder and races away for yet another boundary - South Africa are leaking runs at an alarming pace now as well. Ouch.
Dale Steyn returns, with his side desperately needing a wicket or two...or three. Warner reaches far away from his body to try and get some runs through backward point with a cut, but a diving Hashim Amla gets in his way. After a few dots, the batsman cheekily brings up the hundred partnership by leaning back and uppercutting the ball over the slip cordon for a four that will have made Steyn's blood boil. He gets a single edging into his body, lucky to not chop on to his stumps as he did in the first innings against Steyn - the bowler then loses his line to the right-handed Doolan, who glances a straight one fine down the leg-side to add a boundary to the total. Nine runs from that come-back over from the Phalaborwa Express.
Well now, here's another four to David Warner as he luckily edges one between the slips and gully again. Loose shot, and he's fortunate that he didn't surrender his wicket. He's beaten next ball up, staying back and trying to drive - the batsman and bowler both share a wry smile at that effort. Warner works one off the body square into leg for a single, before Doolan is denied a boundary from a scintillating cover-drive by a diving JP Duminy - that's more like the South Africa we are used to seeing.
The leg-slip for Doolan is a thing of the past, and Peterson puts one too short and wide of off to enable the batsman to free his arms nicely - outside-edge runs away to the boundary for a boundary. There's some sloppy fielding from a Doolan shot worked to mid-wicket, and there are three runs where there should maybe only have been two. Not good enough from the world's number one Test side at the moment, and they're having a rough time out there in the field. Big shout for LBW as Warner attempts a huge heaved sweep, but that pitched quite a way outside off-stump to negate any sort of danger for the batsman - not-out.
Dropped! Again! Warner survives his third chance of the innings, and he's put down at slip, this time by the captain Smith. A flash, a leap, and the ball was in Smith's hand before coming right out, and he had a second grab at it on the way down with no success. It was a tough chance, admittedly. Huge frustration from the crowd in Centurion, and these are the kinds of chances and moments that South Africa desperately need to take if they're to stay in this game. McLaren the bowler this time, and he didn't enjoy that very much at all. Australian dressing-room looks extremely relaxed now
Robbie P continues, and Warner brings his young partner back on-strike with an easy single out to the sweeper boundary. The lone slips stays on for Doolan, but Graeme Smith adds a leg-slip to the equation, the batsman looking to attack by using his feet to loft the ball over mid-on to run away for four. That didn't come out of the middle of the bat by any means, but wow - the next one certainly does! Lovely crack of the bat as the ball flies through the covers for another boundary. What was it that I said about Doolan emerging from his shell? Hmm. Expensive second over from South Africa's spinner, leaving Australia effective 271/1.
Back in action, and Doolan finally shows some intent to pull McLaren well in front-of-square for four runs - that should bring him some confidence. He then drives well, but can't get the ball past the man at cover. Just that four from the over then, and Doolan hopefully emerging from his shell.
Peterson's first delivery is a bit full, easy for Doolan to push down the ground for one. There's a solitary slip in place for David Warner, and a man waits in hope for a mistake in a catching position at short cover. He's unable to pierce the field this time around, and the over peters out to bring on the drinks trolley. Why not grab yourself a refreshment as well as we take a quick break?
Morkel continues, trying to probe at the calm and sedate Alex Doolan, but the batsman manages to push a straight one to mid-off to add a single to his name. Warner has been very much the aggressor after lunch, with the Tasmanian Doolan content to bide his time and hang back. We're approaching the drinks break, but we'll have an over from Robin Peterson before that - he'll take over from Ryan "New Kallis" McLaren.
"If we lost nearly an hours play due to rain, why did we only start 5 minutes earlier today?" asks Stuart. Good question, Stuey.
McLaren steams in with a bouncer to Warner, but its too high and easy to duck under for the stocky left-handed bat. Crack, and Davey smacks one square past point off the back foot to bring up his fifty, his first in South Africa, and its come from 63 balls.
Just two slips in place, and a fuller ball from Morne draws Warner forward to push away from his body. Edge, and it runs away to third-man for another boundary, and a 250-run lead for the Aussies. Wide of second-slip again, and it helps Warner near his fifty as well after scoring only 12 in the first innings.
After being all defence and leaving a few, David Warner feels at one outside off that squirts between second-slip and gulley, just a single there. It wasn't a real chance, but it was a real thickish edge.
Ryan McLaren will be the man replacing Vernon Philander.
Good diving stop from Ryan McLaren doesn't allow Doolan to add to his score, and a sharp bouncer from Morkel has him swinging his head out of the way in the nick of time. A maiden over of mid-140km per hour stuff from Morne, but still South Africa are unable to make the breakthrough - this partnership now worth 54 runs, with Australia 246 runs to the good.
A defensive stroke into the off-side unexpectedly gains a rain as the ball bounces and spins away to the right of JP Duminy, who fumbles it and has to turn on his heels to chase. South Africa look extremely rattled, and the Aussies are really getting to them out there. Davey works one away well off his hip into the mostly-vacant leg-side, with the chase letting them get through comfortably for two.
Morkel blazes in to Alex Doolan, who defends stoically before leaving one that flies past him at chest-height. The batsman does manage to get one past backward-point, thanks to a slight mis-field for one run. Warner unfurls a truly top-class shot, absolutely crunching a back-foot cover-drive for four that hit the rope before a single fielder had moved. He has a close-call next ball, when he edges onto his pad and the ball loops up - short-leg is too deep, however, and can't get there in time. A half-chance, and Warner cashes in by slamming the last ball of the over down the ground yet again for another four to his tally. He's scoring quickly, as is his wont, and frustrating South Africa hugely in the process.
Excellent running as Warner scurries for two runs to add to his total from a leg-side clip. Very impressive, running to the danger end as well. He seems to have cooled his head after his exploits in the last over from Morne, and he defends well to play out the rest of a frustrated Philander over.
Morne Morkel is going to have a bowl, and straight away gets Warner to play at a riser, edging it too high for a jumping second-slip to take the catch! Oh so close, and there is palpable tension here at Centurion as Petersen couldn't hold it. Flew like a bullet. Two runs are scampered, and that doesn't seem to have deterred Warner who has a full-blooded swish at another one, collecting only air. Missed it by miles, too, and clearly he has decided to throw caution to the wind now. Morne looks livid. AB manages to prevent a boundary from a loose leg-sider that Warner clips away for one, and Amla dives to stop the last ball of the over from going for any runs off Doolan's bat. Eventful over, wouldn't you say?
Sharp prod down the ground beats the man at mid-off, allowing Warner to push hard for a couple - they were thinking about three, but good fielding put paid to that. Morne Morkel is on the field as well, folks - no word as to whether he is able to bowl, however. Chance - will it be out? No, dropped! Oh dear, David Warner tried to pull Philander and the ball took the edge and skied its way down to Dean Elgar on the fine-leg boundary, and drops it diving forward. It sounds harsh, but that should have been taken really, and Elgar hangs his head. He's on the field for Steyn, who's just nipped off. How big of a miss is that, folks? Big moment in the game. Philander curses as he takes his hat and makes his way to his fielding postion on the boundary rope - I wouldn't want to get in his way right now.
Steyn's line is not up to scratch, straying onto Doolan's pads to gift him the easiest of boundaries down to fine-leg. The bowler responds better, blazing a real fireball past the batsman's chest through to the keeper, before a real peach somehow misses both edge and off-stump - top quality delivery, that came off a crack in the pitch, and pretty much unplayable.
His partner's quick-scoring approach will definitely help take some of the pressure of Alex Doolan's shoulders, although he misses trying to pull a straight one that deviates slightly off the seam from Big Vern. A big appeal for LBW is snuffed out by umpire Illingworth, and the Proteas choose not to review it. Good call, that ball was missing leg, and Doolan rotates the strike by turning the next ball to mid-wicket for one. Warner isn't able to repeat his heroics from the last over, as Philander gets one on a great line and length, the batsman attempting to force off the back-foot and missing completely.
Straight away, Warner leans into a good square-drive off Dale from around the stumps, cannoning the ball into the boundary before adding another four by punishing a full delivery to a vacant long-off. Boom! Authoritative start by the compact lefty, who has never been shy of playing his strokes. Nope, it's not an action replay folks - the third boundary of the over comes from another cover-drive, this time off the back-foot. Phew, that's blistering stuff from Warner, and that's the way he loves to play - he's forced Steyn to come over the wicket now instead.
Alright folks, time for the action to resume at SuperSport Park. The afternoon session is upon us! Alex Doolan is practising his strokes at the non-striker's end, with Davey Warner marking his guard opposite him. He'll get the first look at Dale Steyn after the break.
Just in: Morne Morkel has been taken for a shoulder scan - will see if he takes the field after the lunch break. We'll have more news for you as soon as it becomes available.
Here's John Carstens: "If we had one other batsmen who applied half his talents then we would have been better off. People cannot get starts and not go through."
Join us in about a half an hour's time for the afternoon session - in the meantime, why not scribble down your thoughts on the game digitally and fire them off to us using the wonderful technology of email? email@example.com is where you can reach us, and we look forward to putting some of them up here. See you shortly.
A shout goes up as Warner gets hit on the knee-roll on the pad, the ball pouched by a diving slip fielder. They're appealing for both the LBW and the catch, but umpire Richard Illingworth turns down both. Yet another three to David Warner, this time pulled to mid-wicket instead of his successful cover-drives from the previous over. That'll be lunch then, and South Africa have definitely upped their intensity in that short stint. Can they sustain it and force the Australians to make some mistakes? At the moment its the tourists who still hold all the aces - a lead of 209 runs with nine wickets in the bank, with Warner on 12 and newbie Alex Doolan on 3.
Last over before the break belongs to Ryan McLaren - here's his chance to impress.
Sharp pace from Steyn, but Warner is able to help himself to three runs - a front-foot cover-drive and a pull to square-leg adding to his total. Doolan is looking quite calm, even when the bowler decides to attack him from around the wicket, trying to force him to fend one away to the men waiting in the off-side. He, too, claims three from the over to get his score up and running, and Warner drives through the covers for a triple to end a pricey over with lunch almost upon us now.
Interesting stat for you: Johnson's average against left-handers since the start of the 2013-14 Ashes is a mere 9.88.
Davey's off, two runs for a shot steered past backward point with an open face. Nice shot. He punches the next ball into the off-side as well, bringing his partner Doolan on strike against Philander for the first time. He's looked calm and assured so far, has the Tasmanian, but he hasn't been able to find his first run in this innings just yet.
Alex Doolan faces up to Steyn once more, in just his second Test innings. A mis-directed bouncer is too high for even a leaping AB de Villiers behind the stumps, and they trot through for two byes. Doolan has a grin on his face, and is leaving well so far outside the off-stump, where Steyn is doing his darndest to make him play. We've still got about 10 minutes to go until the lunch break - don't head out to get a 24-hour petrol station pie just yet, folks.
Warner has a sniff at one going past off from Big Vern, drawing gasps from the swelling crowd here in Centurion. He likes to attack, it's his natural game, but his captain would no doubt prefer him to put his head down and play out the overs until lunch without further alarm. Philander's line and length is also spot-on in this over, as we've become accustomed to from the crafty Cobras seamer.
Dale Steyn immediately makes an impact - gone! The first wicket falls as Rogers plays with an angled bat and edges onto his stumps - he's gone for one, and Steyn has struck with his first ball. Debutant Alex Doolan strides out at number three - the same number of slips in place for him, courtesy of Graeme Smith. The batsman defendsa good line and length, and it's a wicket-maiden for a fired-up Steyn to begin.
Ooh, tight run as Rogers drops one into the off-side, but the throw was a bit wild - would have been a close call indeed. South Africa will be desperate for early breakthroughs in this short period before lunch, but they'll have to take every chance that comes their way if they're to wrest back some advantage in this match.
Right, the Aussie second innings is about to get under way. Vernon Philander will bowl the first over, and we've got the veteran Chris Rogers facing him. Double hat-trick, anyone?
What did you think of that 7/68 performance from Johnson? Or AB's counter-attacking 91? Got any ideas on how the Proteas can survive, nay, overcome the extreme pace threat? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org
Well well well, Australia are in a commanding position just before lunch on day three here in Centurion. The Proteas, shellshocked as they are, will need to get themselves up for a short burst at openers Warner and Rogers before the mid-day break. They need early wickets to put Australia under any semblance of pressure and remain in this game, which has put their excellent record at SuperSport Park under threat.
OUT! Seven wickets in the innings for Mitchell Johnson, and he;s been simply unstoppable on his return to South Africa, largely leaving the hosts 191 runs behind on the first innings. Fast, lifting delivery that had Morkel fending away from his body, and Brad Haddin took an easy catch to end the Proteas' innings. AB was the only real resistance with his eye-catching 91 - the next-best on the scorecard was JP Duminy's 25.
Two runs to Dale Steyn, who's been joined at the crease by his mate Morne Morkel. A mis-timed drive loops over mid-off, and Steyn is fortunate to not be the last man out there - he reckons he can take Ryan Harris on by hooking, but no luck there as well. Fresh air, wild shot.
Huge applause as Steyn gets off strike first-ball, also ensuring that South Africa move past the follow-on target. Fantastic contest between Johnson and AB so far, and the batsman goes for a vicious hook shot to a pacey bouncer, but misses. No problem, de Villiers decides to go down on one knee and smacks Johnson beautifully over the in-field for four! Bang, take that - the 200 comes up. Oh no, what's happened here? De Villiers tries to repeat the shot off the last ball of the over, and he doesn't quite get hold of it, and David Warner jumps at mid-off to pouch a good catch - OUT! Mitchell strikes again, he's got his sixth wicket, and South African shoulders slump. AB's gone for 91, and he played a lone hand in taking the fight to the touring Aussies.
Interesting tack here from Rhino - around the wicket to fellow-quickie Dale Steyn, trying to bounce him with an angle across to the slip cordon. Two man are waiting patiently there for the edge, and there's a deepish short-leg in as well in case one is fended away. Steyn does well to defend one straight down, but almost succumbs as a bouncer bangs into the thumb on his bottom hand and loops up off his shoulder - he's fortunate that the ball lands in a safe area, and Harris' plan almost bore delicious, delicious fruit there. South Africa are still 200 runs behind...and here comes Mitchell Johnson. Oh boy.
First LBW shout of the day, and Lyon goes up after a ball delivered from around the wicket thuds into the pad of Philander - not-out says the umpire, but they review it...and he's out! Oh dear, Vernon is gone for 15 and Australia get their second wicket of the morning session! On first inspection, the ball seemed to pitch outside leg, but Hawkeye showed that it had indeed pitched in line and would have thudded into middle-and-leg. Big blow, great call to review from Michael Clarke! Second wicket for the spinner. Dale Steyn is the new man in to partner AB de Villiers, and South Africa only have Morne Morkel left in the hut. Steyn clips Nathan Lyon away off his first ball faced, before AB skips down the patch to loft Lyon high over the long-on boundary for a big six! Wow, that was authoritative, so confident is he of his abilities that he was able to execute that shot despite the pressure situation. Magnificent.
Ryan Harris swaps ends with Peter Siddle, who takes a break now. He bangs in a shorter one, and Philander gets yet another chance to pull hard into the on-side. Good shot, as he keeps it down in front of square for two runs, and repeats the shot for a single as well. Harris seems to want to target him with shorter deliveries, but he doesn't have the brute pace of Mitch, and Philander seems quite at home dealing those kinds of deliveries so far.
AB adds another run to his score, flicking Lyon to long-on after moving outside the off-stump. He's in the eighties now, and his side really need him to stick it out for a long time still. There are some clouds over the ground, but it hasn't help the Australians swing the ball this morning at all, really. Anpther pull from Vernon Philander, but he didn't quite get hold of it well enough to clatter a boundary - he gets another humble single to deep-square-leg.
Glenn reckons, "Feel that De Kock should be there next test to open with the skipper, Alviro a hasbeen! The Ozzies always blood their younger players as young as 19, so now is the time!"
Three runs from this Siddle over, as AB drops and runs a quick one again to beat the throw from Mitch, and Vernon pulls majestically to the fielder behind square...that shot definitely deserved more than a single.
Feel free to drop us a line at email@example.com with your thoughts on the game, or anything cricket-related really. We'll post some of the best ones faster than you can say "fastbouncerfrommitchthatwasheadingforthebatsmansribs".
Around the wicket to AB, Lyon gets smacked through the covers as the batsman uses his feet to dance down and clout the ball all along the ground for four. Steven Smith, himself a good player of spin, would have appreciated that as he watched it slam into the fence.
Time for some spin this morning, courtesy of Nathan Lyon.
Peter Miller on Twitter has an interesting fact on Mitchell Johnson for us: "In the six matches since his recall he has 42 wickets at ave of 13.52 with a wicket every 4.5 overs. Crazy good."
A leading-edge from a shot that was directed towards leg has Siddle frustrated, and the ball is just hauled in at the boundary by a sliding fielder. Philander tried to glance it away, but was through on the shot too early - three runs for him, despite that.
Worked behind square on the leg-side nicely by Vern, as Siddle gets too full striving for the yorker. He's been watching AB at the other end, and shows off a cracking cover-drive that, unfortunately for him, goes straight to the fielder. Nice stroke from Philander, who has a Test high-score of 74 to his name - he moves to 5 not-out, with his partner de Villiers lurking on 72.
First change of the morning sees Ryan Harris with ball in hand, and he's rudely greeted by a lovely back-foot drive through point for four. De Villiers looks imperious this morning, and Harris still seems to be loosening up as a shorter, wider ball gets the treatment as well - smacked in front of point for a boundary too. His timing has been excellent this morning, AB, and he's also leaving a bit better outside off now after that earlier prod at Peter Siddle. Not a good first over from the Rhino, I'm afraid, the 50th of the innings.
Australia get excited as Vern leans forward to a slightly slower one from Sids, and it loops past the man at gully to earn the batsman two welcome runs. That could easily have gone to hand, and Philander's saving grace was that he played it with softer hands. Siddle reckons he can do a pretty good Mitch impression, and fires in a bouncer that takes off alarmingly to fly way over a leaping Brad Haddin for four byes. Oops - might need to work on that, Peter.
Here comes the phenom again, over the wicket and angling it at pace across the right-hander to coax a little nick behind to Haddin and friends. AB calmly picks up a single by clipping two nicely off his hip in front of square to make the man at mid-on jog over to collect it. That's 150 up for the Proteas, but no-one seems to excited about that just yet - a lot more work staring them in the face here on day three. Oof. Yet another rising ball gets de Villiers up off his feet, and he does extremely well to play it with soft hands, ensuring that the ball goes straight to ground after thwacking into the top of the bat. Oh, here we go - FOUR! Cracking shot as AB uppercuts beautifully over the in-field and the ball races away to the vacant wide-third-man fence. Special shot, such class, and he remains the Protea's key man out there. That's the second boundary of the morning.
Three slips to greet Big Vern, courtesy of Peter Siddle. All defence so far from the opening bowler, after AB edges one onto his pad as he tries to work a delivery away to leg for one run.
"Who needs Graeme Smith or Quinton de Kock when you have Bismark du Plessis?" says Neall de Beer, his mind clearly still full of highlights from the recent Proteas vs Springboks T20 game at Newlands. "If the cricket boys can't do it, the rugby boys can!"
Five wickets for Johnson! Peterson tried to defend against a sharp rising ball that took the top-edge of the bat and looped up easily to a jubilant Michael Clarke running in from second slip. Australia have struck early, and these batsmen have no answer to the pace onslaught of the left-armed Johnson. Outstanding - Peterson had to try and protect his body as the ball reared up towards his ribs, and can now do so from the safety of the pavilion. Vernon Philander is the new man, and he gets off the mark with a push into the vacant off-side before AB shows his class - all the time in the world, and he bangs a beautiful straight-drive down the ground for four. That was a sight to behold, and a good retort. He remains the biggest threat for Australia, and they try to coax a mistake out of him by putting in a silly-mid-off - no dice.
De Villliers defends circumspectly, and Clarke installs a second slip half-way through the over to crank up the pressure slightly. Siddle is well-known for his good line and length that nags at batsman outside off, and AB duly plays and misses at one that pitches outside off on a fourth-stump line - he needs to keep his head down early on, but will no doubt still look to take the bowlers on.
Peter Siddle will be the man operating from the other end for the tourists first-up. Can Sid Vicious dislodge the dangerman, AB?
Here comes Mitch, around the wicket to Robbie P, who sways and drops under a good bouncer but can only waft some fresh air at the next ball. Good pace already from the Western Australian - yikes. He tries another bouncer that doesn't quite scale the heights of the day's first ball, and the 43rd over is completed.
"How many more chances for Quintin?" wonders John Smith, as the players head out to the middle at SuperSport Park. The Australians link arms and huddle together, geeing themselves up for the task at hand. A fascinating day's play awaits us! Good news is that there is bright sunshine all around, after the traditional Highveld thunderstorm that curtailed yesterday's play slightly. Booyah!
South Africa still trail the Aussies by 257 on the first innings, and their hopes of posting a fighting total rest mainly on AB de Villiers, who was the only batsman to dig in yesterday and attempt to thwart Mitch and co. He's partnered at the crease by Robin Peterson, who's not out on 10.
Albert Roets has chipped in on the Quinton de Kock debate: "I could not agree more, can they not realise that Graham needs to take a break? Give young Quintin de Kock a go at it, at least we'll have 1 batsman in the top order still standing."
Happy Velentine's day as well to everyone out there - there's definitely no love lost between these two foes, though. You could argue that Mitchell Johnson loves bowling to Graeme Smith, and he claimed the South African skipper's wicket yet again with an absolute beast of a delivery. Can he finish off the Proteas this morning to give his side a more than handy lead?
Sue Annandale reckons: "Graeme Smith needs to retire, our top order keeps letting us down. AB de Villiers always comes to the rescue, but he can't do it on his own." Early days, yes, but perhaps it's time Quinton de Kock gets a go in the Test XI? Your thoughts, too, welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Right on cue, as per the form in the Ashes, the Aussies dominated on day two. Centuries for Shaun Marsh and Steven Smith paved the way for Mitchell Johnson. Graeme Smith and company were reduced to veritable schoolboy batting in the face of Johnson's fire - and you're welcome to plot the way forward here: email@example.com. All opinion welcome.
Hello - and welcome to our over-by-over commentary on day three of the first Test match between South Africa and Australia in Centurion.
South Africa would have be thankful to see the rain fall as play was ended early at Supersport Park. Australia have totally outplayed South Africa on the first two days of this test match. Mitchell Johnson has been the star performer picking up 4/51 and a great catch. The South African batsmen had no answers to his pace and aggression. The only resistence was from AB de Villiers who ended on 52 not out. South Africa wil resume tomorrow on 140/6 with De Villiers and Peterson at the crease. Play will start 3 minutes early.
Johnson hits Peterson with yet another nasty short ball. After the third ball rain stops play. South Africa end on 140/6
Peterson picks up a single through point. De Villiers works it to long off for a single. Two off Lyon's over
Nasty delivery from Johnson,short ball, hits De Villiers on the forearm. Slight break in play as De Villiers get medical attention. Single for De Villiers down to fine leg. Four runs for Peterson, leg stump half volley well put away. Single to end the over.
De Villiers picks up a single and moves on to fifty. Great innings from De Villiers, he has been the only batsman that has looked comfortable this innings. One run off Lyon's over.
Wicket! Johnson strikes again. McLaren is clean bowled by a beauty, jagged back and knocked the off stump out the ground. Johnson picks up his fourth wicket. Peterson starts with a lovely cover drive, four runs.
De Villiers gets down the pitch and punches the ball down long off, one run. Big appeal for caught behind, Lyon is conviced. Umpire says not out. Clarke decides not to review after a long chat with Lyon. Replays show the ball cliping the thigh pad. Not out .
Clarke looking for a break through brings Johnson back into the attack. De Villiers works the ball to the on side, one run. Good yorker, McLaren does well to keep it out. Just one run off the over.
Good pressure from the Australia as Lyon bowls another tight over. McLaren punch off the back foot for a couple. Two off the over.
Tight over from Harris. Good looking backfoot punch from De Villiers straight to point no run. Maiden over.
De Villiers pushes to the on side for a single. Lyon gets his line wrong and McLaren works it to square leg for a couple. Three runs off the over.
Good start from Harris. Bowling a line just outside off stump trying to tempt the batsmen. Harris strays on to De Villiers pads, De Villiers works it leg side for three runs. Great straight drive from McLaren, four runs. Seven off the over.
De Villiers uses his feet pushes the ball down the ground for a single. Just one run off Lyon's over
Bowling change Harris is brought back into the attack. Good tight over from Harris. Maiden over.
Duminy plays a good looking cover drive as Lyon provides too much width, 2 runs. Wicket! Amazing catch from who else but Mitchell Johnson. Duminy tries to go over the top again, doesn't quite time it and Johnson take a wonderful catch at long off. The ball seemed as if it had enough on it to clear Johnson but he timed his jump to perfection and pouched it.
Duminy flicks Siddle to fine leg for a single. Siddle is still keeping things tight, bowling wicket to wicket and hitting a good length.
Lyon beats Duminy as he tries to sweep,Haddin can't control the ball, two byes.Duminy using his feet well pushes the ball down to long off for a single.Three off the over.
Siddle starts with three dots all on off stump well defended by De Villiers. Siddle drags it down De Villiers is on to it in a flash, pulls strongly and the ball races to the mid wicket boundary.
Great foot work again by Duminy as he skips down the pitch and lofts Lyon straight down the ground for six. Ibw appeal. Hit Duminy outside the line of off stump not out.
Siddle replaces Johnson. Duminy works the ball to square leg, picks up a single. Good over from Siddle keeping things tight. Just one off the over.
Change of bowling Lyon in to the attack. Good foot work by Duminy as he works it to long off,picks up a single. Four dot balls to finish. Just one off the over.
Again Johnson bangs it in short but gets too much on it, the ball flies way over Duminy and Haddin, four byes. Duminy pushes into the covers picks up a single. De Villiers cuts through point, good effort in the field but couldn't prevent the boundary, four runs.
Appeal for caught behind down the legside. Not out, the ball flicked Duminy's thigh pad as it when through to Haddin. Duminy picks up a single to square leg. Just one run off Harris's over.
Wonderful timing from De Villiers, picks up the ball from outside offstump and works it through mid wicket, four runs. Johnson follows up with four dot balls. De Villiers defends well.
Big Ibw appeal from Harris. Umpire says not out. Australia decide not to review. Hawk eye shows the ball missing off stump. Duminy pulls through mid wicket, picks up three runs.
Another good short ball from Johnson beats De Villiers but flies over Haddin, four byes. De Villiers watchfully defends the rest of the over. Four off the over.
Good over from Harris. Hitting good areas just outside offstump. Well defended by Duminy. Great straight drive from Duminy off the last ball of the over, picks up two runs.
Johnson starts the first session with a bit of a loosener and De Villiers works it to deep mid wicket for two runs. Wonderful straight drive from De Villiers, four runs. Six runs off the over.
Australia are all over South Africa. The South African batsmen had no answers for the pace of Mitchell Johnson as he claimed three wickets. Peter Siddle chipped in with the prize wicket of Hashim Amla. South Africa will need to dig deep to get close to the Australian total. They trail by 334 runs with six wickets remaining.
Lyon on to bowl last over before tea. De Villiers looks for quick single, Duminy sends him back. De Villiers had to hurry back. De Villiers picks up a single. Just one off the over. That's tea on day two.
Attempted pull from Duminy. Duminy was beaten for pace, the ball looped up but didn't go to hand, one run. De Villiers picks up a single. Duminy makes up for his earlier weakness, powerfully pulls Johnson for four.
Siddle strays onto the pads and De Villiers flicks it off his pads to the square leg boundary, four runs. Siddle follows up with four dot balls.
Johnson back into the attack. Short ball from Johnson, De Villiers quickly on to it and pulls it over fine leg for six. Follows the six with a single. Johnson around the wicket to Duminy. Clear plan to target Duminy on the short ball. Duminy manages to evade two short balls from Johnson.
Lovely straight drive from De Villiers as Siddle over pitches. Didn't try to hit the ball too hard and picks up three runs. WIcket! Huge Ibw appeal against Amla. Umpire says Not out. Clarke asks for the review. Hawk- eye shows the ball hitting middle and Amla has to go. Huge wicket for Australia. South Africa are reeling at 43/4
Australian bowlers are keeping the pressure South Africa hitting good areas. Harris gets slightly straight Amla works it leg side for two runs.
Amla shuffles across and picks up a single on leg side. Good over from Siddle. Just one off it.
Harris changes ends as he replaces Johnson. Amla and De Villiers each pick up a singles from pushes into the covers. Two off the over
Bowling change Siddle replaces Harris. Siddle starts with a loosener, short and wide De Villiers cuts through the covers for three. Siddle over pitches and Amla strokes it through the covers and picks up a boundary. Seven runs off the over
Wicket! Johnson produces another surperb bouncer. Too much pace for Du Plessis who could only glove the ball to Clarke at second slip. Can anyone stand up to the pace of Johnson? De Villiers picks up three runs through mid wicket. Amla takes a blow from another Johnson.
Harris hits Alma with a mean bouncer one leg bye. Du plessis picks a single through the covers. Harris gets too straight and Amla doesn't miss out four runs through mid wicket.
Wicket! Petersen caught behind chasing a wide delivery from Johnson. Petersen will be kicking himself, really didn't need to play that ball. Johnson is on fire as he produces an edge that drops just short of second slip. Du Plessis picks up two runs to get off the mark.
Amla picks up two down to fine leg. Harris bowls good bouncer to end well defended by Amla.
Johnson gets too straight Petersen plays it to deep square leg for a single. Amla off the mark with a single to fine leg. Johnson ends with a bouncer. Two off the over
Good over from Harris. Hitting good areas. Amla defends the first four balls then chases a wide one. Played and missed. Maiden over.
Johnson in from the other end. Peterson pushes into the covers for one. Wicket! Johnson gets Smith yet again. Great short ball from Johnson. Directed at the body. Smith had no where to go. Top edge, ball looped up in to slips Marsh takes the catch.
Great start for Smith. Harris drops it short and Smith pulls through mid-wicket for four. Harris finds the edge but Smith plays with soft hands. Ball goes through gully for four. Smith pushes through through the covers for two more. 10 off the first over.
Marsh and Smith started the day well. Smith reached his fourth international test hundred however was out shortly afterwards. His dismissal gave the advantage to South Africa as South Africans managed to take the last 6 wickets for just 66 runs.
Steyn continues. Siddle picks up a single past backward point. Lyon punches straight down the ground picks up three runs. Wicket! Steyn picks up a wicket off the last bowl. Siddle drags it on to his stumps. Steyn picks up his fourth.
Wicket! Change in bowling has worked for South Africa. Peterson picks up his second wicket. Johnson goes for a sweep, bottom edge and drags it middle stump. Lyon picks up a single. Single off the last. Good over from Peterson just two off it and the wicket.
Steyn continues, starts off with a short ball to Harris. Harris tucks it away through midwicket for a couple of runs. WICKET! Harris inside edges it on to his stumps, South Africa get the early wicket they were looking for after lunch. Harris goes for 19, playing away from his body. Siddle walks out to bat. A short ball from Steyn to welcome Siddle to the crease. An outswinger to end the over.
Duminy continues from the other end, he is bowling his second over today. Harris makes room for himself and cuts it to deep point for a couple, Amla does well to stop the boundary. Johnson hits it down the ground for a single. A stifled shout for lbw, but it was pitching outside leg. A single to end the over.
Steyn runs in from the other end, Harris drives the second ball through cover for a single. Short ball from Steyn and Johnson hits it for four through midwicket.
Australia have a good score but have lost Marsh and Smith. South Africa have picked up three wickets before lunch. Duminy comes into the attack after lunch, interesting move from Smith. Duminy starts with a slip to Harris. Harris cuts it away for four to deep cover, Amla misfields and gives away a boundary. Harris takes a single and Johnson plays out the over.
A few dots and then Johnson gets a single on the leg side. Harris runs the ball to third man for a single. A couple of singles from the over.
Steyn comes into the attack just before lunch. A big shout for lbw and umpire Dar gives it not out, South Africa don't review it. Replays show that it would have been out. Johnson pulls the last ball away for three runs to deep midwicket, Amla gives chase.
Harris swings and misses at the first ball. Too straight from Morkel, Harris flicks it to deep square leg for a couple. Another swing and a misses from Harris and some steep bounce for Morkel. Good over from Morkel.
Philander bowls four dots and Johnson then outside edges the ball through gully for four, there is no third man in place.
Harris survives the bouncer from Morkel. Then he bravely square cuts Morkel for four through point, good shot. Just the boundary from the over.
Johnson pulls Philander over midwicket for a couple of runs. Just two from the over.
Morkel comes into the attack to bowl at the tail. The over starts with half a shout for lbw from the first ball, umpire not interested. Johnson drives it through the covers again for four, he plays well against South Africa. Johnson leans back and hits it over the slips for four, hits it in the air with confidence. Johnson hits it to deep point for a single.
Philander comes back into the attack, Marsh pushes it to gully and Johnson wants a single, Marsh sends him back. WICKET! Marsh edges it to first slip, South Africa get the big wicket. Marsh goes for 148, his highest score in tests. Philander gets his first wicket of the test, produces the edge with a good ball. Ryan Harris walks out to bat. A big shout for lbw, the umpire gives it not out.
The news is that Morkel can bowl straightaway, he will not have to wait because of the off-field time. McLaren runs in to to bowl his 20th over. Marsh swings his bat at it, McLaren thinks he has edged it but AB was not interested. Another good ball from McLaren, he is consistently beating the outside edge. A front foot no ball from McLaren. Johnson dispatches the last ball of the over through covers for four.
Morkel is back on the field, Peterson continues with the ball. Marsh pushes it down the ground for a single. Just one from the over.
Marsh cuts it away for four through point, short and wide from McLaren and Marsh enjoys playing that shot. Marsh bottom edges it to the keeper and AB does well to stop it. Marsh pushes the ball into the leg side for an easy couple of runs, McLaren bowls it too straight.
A big shout for lbw, Peterson traps him in front of the stumps, umpire raises the finger straightaway and Haddin decides to review it. Pitched in line, hit in line and it would have gone on to hit the stumps, Haddin is out and the third umpire confirms it. Australia lose the review. WICKET! Haddin falls for a duck. Johnson comes out to bat. Johnson drives the last ball of the over through the covers for four, he gets off the mark with a stylish cover drive.
WICKET! McLaren gets the first wicket of the day, Smith edges it to second slip, a bit of extra bounce and a good ball from McLaren. Smith is angry at himself, but he has done a good job for his country. Smith goes out for 100, Petersen takes the catch. At the other end Marsh is on 142 not out, which is his highest score in tests. Haddin comes out to bat, he was one of the key players in the Ashes for Australia. It is down leg and Haddin pulls it towards fine leg for a leg bye.
Smith cuts it to cover but is not able to get the single that will take him to 100. Smith pushes it into the leg side and gets the single, brings up his 4th century in tests. He takes off his helmet and raises his bat, well deserved 100 from him. Marsh rocks back and cuts it behind point for four, he seems to enjoy this shot. Six runs from the over.
McLaren comes into the attack for the first time today. Marsh cuts it through point for four, he played that shot well yesterday and carries on today. Marsh pushes the next ball into the leg side for a single, Smith is on 98 and on strike. Smith takes a single to move on to 99.
Peterson comes into the attack. A single to Marsh to square leg, Smith then flicks it to fine leg for a quick single. Two runs from the over.
Steyn makes Smith play at this one, it hits the thigh pad and the umpire calmly turns down the shout for lbw. 100 overs gone, Steyn finishes a maiden to keep Australia to 315 for 4.
Philander continues, Smith blocks the first ball to cover. A big shout for caught behind, the South Africans think they have their man. Aleem Dar gives it not out, Smith reviews it. Marsh swivels and turns as he edges it to AB on the leg side. The third umpire gives it not out, the evidence is not conclusive. The first review of the match is an unsuccessful one. Australia 315 for 4.
Steyn keeps the ball outside off and Marsh is patient enough to leave the ball alone. A maiden from Steyn.
A couple of runs to Marsh, tucks it away through square for two runs. This is now the highest partnership for the 5th wicket on this ground. Quick run from Marsh, makes it three runs from the over.
Uneven bounce for Steyn, the ball goes over the batsman and the keeper, the umpire gives it five wides. Good ball from Steyn, it pitches and shapes away and beats the outside edge. And then one keeps low, Smith does well to get some inside edge on it to keep it out. Australia 311 for 4.
The weather is good for the rest of the day, there may be a thunderstorm later in the day. Philander produces the edge but it falls short of slips. A maiden from Philander.
Steyn continues, short and wide and Smith hammers it through the covers for four, he uses the width to put pressure on Steyn. A couple of good balls after the boundary, Steyn responds with good lines and lengths.
Philander to Marsh who pushes it on the leg side for a couple of runs and brings up the 300. A couple more to Marsh, he edges it through the slips for more runs. End of the over, 302 for 4.
Steyn runs in from the other end. Morne Morkel won't be bowling today, having hurt his shoulder in the field yesterday. Just a single from the over, first runs of the day for Australia.
The new ball is 11 overs old, Philander starts with the ball. A big shout for lbw from the first ball of the day, the umpire gives it not out and Smith decides against the review. It would have been too high. Dean Elgar is on the field for Morkel, not sure what the injury is. We will keep you updated, Smith pulls the last ball but its a dot ball. A maiden in the end from Philander.
Hello and welcome to day two of the first test. South Africa started well yesterday, taking three wickets before lunch. Clarke went out after lunch, pulling a short ball to fine leg. Marsh and Smith put on a good partnership to bring Australia back into the game. Their partnership is worth an unbeaten 199 and Australia end the day on 297 for 4. South Africa have been known to come back strongly on day two and they are not the number one team in the world for nothing.
Marsh flicks it on the leg side for a single. Smith cuts it to deep point for a single to Amla. Last ball of the day, Steyn to Marsh, a dot to end the over. Australia win the day, score almost 300 on day one.
Morkel continues with two overs left in the day, this partnership worth 194 runs now. Marsh clips it wide of mid-on for three runs. Good ball from Morkel to end the over, one over to go in the day.
Smith gets a single from the first ball, Marsh then works it on the leg side for a couple of runs. Marsh pushes it to square leg for a single. Wide from Steyn and Smith cuts it strongly for four over point, moves on to 90.
Another maiden with the new ball, Morkel bowls it.
A maiden from Steyn, Australia stay on 284 for 4.
Smith throws the new ball to Morkel after just one over from Philander. Marsh cuts it behind point, chances of a catch, but even a diving Duminy can't get to that, four runs in the end.
Steyn warms up, South African need wickets from him. Poor line and Marsh flicks it very fine for four. Marsh inside edges it to Amla at deep square leg for a single. Smith strides out of his crease and drives it through the covers for four. So far the new ball has gone for runs.
Philander warms up with the new ball, two slips and a gully for Smith. Smith throws his bat at it and it goes through point and gully for four, not controlled at all. Too full from Philander and Smith drives it through the covers for four, he moves into the 80s. Eight from the first over with the new ball.
Peterson continues from the other end, no sign of the new ball. Marsh drives it to deep midwicket for a single. Smith drives the ball down the ground for a single. Two singles from the over.
Smith does not take the new ball, Duminy continues to bowl. Steve Smith pushes the ball into the leg side for a single. Marsh drives the ball to deep mid-off for a single.
Over number 80, the new ball will be due from the next over. A single from the over.
Duminy operates from the other end. A couple of singles from the over, South Africans getting ready for the new ball.
Three overs to go for the new ball and Steyn and Philander will be warming up. Peterson continues, Smith pushes the ball into the leg side for a single.
Three runs as Marsh works it off his pads on the leg side. A couple of singles to end the over, Australia 254 for 4.
Peterson comes into the attack, just a single from the over. Australia get to 250.
The partnership goes over 150 runs with a three runs from the over.
Just back of a length from Philander and Smith pulls it away for four on the leg side. A couple of singles to end the over.
Duminy continues after drinks, Smith happy to take a single and give the strike to Marsh. A couple more singles from the over.
Philander comes into the attack, Smith hits it to deep square leg for a single. It is drinks in the final session.
Duminy to Marsh who is on 99, pushes it to fine leg and gets to his century, good knock from him. He struggled against India, was dropped from the side and then scores a comeback century. Smith flicks it to deep square leg for a couple of runs. Smith edges one past the lone slip for a couple more runs. South Africa searching for wickets now.
McLaren cuts his fingers across the ball to get something out of the surface, gets extra bounce and Marsh edges it but it falls short of second slip. Marsh pushes it through midwicket, runs the first one quickly and Smith is quick enough to get two for Marsh. Marsh takes a single to deep square leg to move on to 99. Smith uses his wrists the place the ball in to the gap for a couple of runs. Smith drives through the covers for get to his 50, good knock from him.
Marsh drives it to deep cover for a couple of runs, Steyn stops it on the boundary. Faf stops a couple balls at short cover, Marsh guides the ball to fine leg for a couple more to move on to 95. A single to end the over, Marsh on 96.
McLaren runs in to bowl his 15th over. 68 overs gone, Australia 216 for 4.
Smith tucks it behind square leg for a single after Marsh gets a single.
A couple of runs to start the over, a confusion between the running as Smith wants three but Marsh can only run two. Just two runs from the over.
Marsh cuts it off his stumps for four to deep third man, Duminy pitches it slightly short and Marsh makes the most of it. Duminy pushes it on leg stump and Marsh guides it to fine leg for a couple of runs.
Marsh walks across his stumps and hits it through midwicket, Steyn misfields and Marsh gets three runs, chance of a run out but McLaren is not behind the stumps to collect the throw. Smith drives the overpitched ball through the covers for four.
JP Duminy brought into the attack. A maiden for Duminy, Smith plays it out.
McLaren comes into the attack, three dots and then Marsh pulls it to fine leg, shouts of 'catch it', Morkel puts in the dive but can't take the catch. Australia 199 for 4 and this partnership worth 101 runs now.
Good over from Morkel, beating Smith a few times. A maiden in the end.
Steyn starts his 16th over of the day, three dots and them Marsh drives straight down the ground for four. Good shot from Marsh, overpitched from Steyn.
Duminy coming in at short leg, Morkel at the top of his run up. Marsh wants the single as he plays it to point, Smith does not think there is a single there, overthrows give them the single. Another single brings Marsh on strike. A couple of runs to Marsh as he drives this through point.
Marsh takes a single to start the over. Just a single from the Steyn over.
Four, Smith eases the quicker ball for four over the slips. Smith drives it down the ground for four to long-on, good shot against Morkel. Good over for Australia, eight runs from it.
A maiden from Steyn, Australia 177 for 4.
Morkel takes the first over after tea, and it's just one run from it, to Marsh. The hosts will want to take at least two wickets in the evening session, one imagines.
Steyn to bowl the last over before tea, Marsh pulls it to deep square leg and Amla does well to keep it down to a single. Good batting and good fielding. That will be tea.
Morkel comes back into the attack to bowl what could be the last over before tea. Smith pulls the first ball to deep square leg for one. Marsh pulls it to deep square leg for a single. This partnership now worth 72. Four byes, and it is called a wide, big bounce for Morkel and even AB can't stop it behind the stumps.
Steyn comes back into the attack, just before tea. Smith pushes it through the off side for a single. Mid-off dives to stop a boundary and does well to keep it down to a couple. Australia 168 for 4.
This one is outside off, takes the outside edge and flies through the slips for three runs. Australia 165 for 4.
A no ball to start and four, good shot from Marsh. Three runs, Marsh spoons this over cover, the ball hangs in the air and Peterson is unable to get to it. Smith pushes it through midwicket for a couple of runs.
Philander comes into the attack to replace Peterson. Smith flicks the first ball off his pads for four to deep square leg. A quick single to Marsh who hits it to mid-off. Marsh is not running freely, he was hit in the box from Steyn earlier today. Australia reach 150.
McLaren to Marsh, who pushes the first ball to Amla at short leg for no run. Marsh gets to his 50, he pulls it and gets some glove on it for four to fine leg. Australia 145 for 4 after 48 overs.
Marsh drives it through midwicket for four, Peterson goes for four from the first ball. A single to Marsh who moves on to 47. Smith drives it down the ground a gets a single. Six from the over.
Marsh takes a single from the first ball, Smith pushes it to deep square leg and gets two, good running between wickets. Good over from McLaren.
Peterson continues, Marsh takes a single to deep midwicket and Smith takes a single to square leg. Three runs from the over.
A single from the first ball, and Smith picks up another single to midwicket. Australia 128 for 4 after 44 overs.
Peterson looks to stop the runs to build pressure. Marsh comes down the track and hits it for four straight over the bowler. Marsh tucks the ball to deep square leg for a single. Smith comes down the ground, another four for Australia. 11 from the over.
Morkel continues, a short ball to Smith who tries to flat bat it to third man but misses. A maiden from him.
Peterson comes back into the attack. A few dots and Smith takes a single from the last ball to fine leg.
Five dots and then Smith takes a single to mid-on.
Smith flicks it to fine leg and wants two, Marsh is not interested. A wide ball given against McLaren, far too wide outside off.
Morkel comes into the attack, replacing Steyn. Three gullies in place for Marsh. A short ball from Morkel, Marsh attacks it and hits it through midwicket for four to end the over.
McLaren starts with a wide down leg. A maiden from McLaren.
Steyn works from around the wicket to Marsh. Marsh hits it through the covers, has not timed it well so will only get two runs. Smith pulls it to deep square leg for a single, four runs from the over.
McLaren comes into the attack after the wicket goes down, he will replace Philander. Full ball to Smith and Smith gets off the mark with a boundary through covers, that brings up the 100 for Australia.
Four dots and the pressure was building on Clarke, he hooks it to Philander at deep fine leg. WICKET! The Aussie captain falls, South Africa on top with 4 wickets down. Good bowling from Steyn.
Philander starts with a couple of dots to Clarke, then Clarke takes a couple of runs through midwicket. Clarke cuts it behind point for four, good shot against Philander. Seven runs from the over.
Brilliant ball from Steyn to start the over, a change of angle to Marsh and he beats the outside edge first ball. Smith adds a slip to make it three slips in total. Good running from this pair as Marsh pushes it in to the leg side and calls for two.
Clarke powers it through point, slightly short from Philader and Clarke uses the width to place the ball for four, his first boundary. A big shout for lbw, replays show it was going down leg and South Africa make a good decision to not review it.
Marsh tries to flick it through the leg side only to get some pad on it, a leg bye. Clarke flicks it off his hips to fine leg for a single. Australia 85 for 3.
Philander starts after lunch from the other end. A maiden from Philander.
Steyn starts after lunch, South Africa hunting for wickets. A maiden to Marsh in the end.
Philander continues from the other end, a couple of dots and then Philander bowls it straighter and Clarke flicks it to deep square leg for a couple. Just two from the over. A shout for lbw, but it was sliding down leg, good ball from Philander and that will be lunch on day one.
Morkel comes back into the attack before lunch, a couple of runs to Clarke to start the over. A couple more to Clarke as he pushes this into the leg side. Then Clarke hits it through midwicket for three more runs. Australia 81 for 3.
Philander to Clarke, five dots and then Clarke hits one to fine leg for a single, inside edge that misses the stumps.
WICKET! Three down before lunch, Doolan pulls one straight to short midwicket and Peterson takes a good diving catch. Clarke comes in to bat, McLaren strikes for South Africa. It will be a tricky 15 minutes before lunch for Clarke, South Africa will be on the attack. Clarke gets off the mark with a single on the leg side, he flicks it off the pads to Philander. Good over from McLaren.
Philander comes back into the attack before lunch. A couple of runs to start the over for Marsh, he flicks it on the leg side. A short delay as there is some problem around the sight screen.
Four dots from McLaren and Marsh hits a boundary through backward point for four. A quick single to end the over, Australia 70 for 2.
A single to Doolan as he closes the face of the bat. A quick over from Peterson.
A couple of runs to end the over after 5 dots.
Peterson comes into the attack, Australia will look to attack him. A full toss and Marsh angles it to fine leg for a single. Four to end the over, Doolan flicks it to fine leg for four.
Amla drops a difficult chance, Marsh pushes it through the gully region and Amla just gets his fingers to it. A couple of leg byes as Marsh pads it to fine leg.
Ryan McLaren, the fourth quick bowler comes into the attack. Good start from McLaren, two maidens in a row.
Morkel to Marsh, a maiden from him. Good bowling from the South Africans.
After drinks, Steyn runs in, Doolan goes hard at it and hits it over the slips for four. Good over from Steyn, Australia 54 for 2.
Three dots and then Marsh pushes it into the leg side for a couple of runs. Marsh hits it through the off side for four, confident cover drive. Six runs from the over.
Steyn comes back into the attack for a second spell, replacing Philander. Four, it is pitched up and Doolan hits it through backward point for four. A big shout for lbw, but a good decision from the umpire, Doolan inside edged it on to his pads.
Morkel continues, Doolan takes a single from the second ball. Marsh hits it to fine leg and it goes for four, Australia on 40 for 2 after 11 overs.
Four, Doolan starts the Philander over with an edge through the slips for four. A single to follow, after 10 overs, Australia 35 for 2.
First ball from Morne Morkel, he replaces Steyn, Rogers hits on the arm. WICKET! Morkel strikes with the second ball and some awkward bounce. Rogers edges it and Duminy takes a brilliant catch at short leg. Marsh comes in at four, instead of Clarke. Marsh gets off the mark with a couple of runs on the leg side. Good bounce for Morkel, beats the batsman and the keeper for four byes.
It is in the slot and Doolan hits it through the covers for four, first boundary for the debutant. End of the over, Australia 24 for 1.
The first ball of the over bounces awkwardly for Rogers who does well in the end to keep it down. Another brilliant over from Steyn, just a couple of singles from it.
A maiden from Philander, the first maiden on the test. Australia stay at 16 for 1 after 6 overs.
WICKET! Warner gone, Steyn strikes! Warner bowled, he goes for another drive, and inside edges it on to the stumps, Steyn celebrates in the usual fashion. Doolan the new man in, he is making his debut against the number one bowling attack in the world. Doolan gets off the mark with a single.
Just a single from the over, good start from Philander.
Steyn goes through Warner with the first ball, Warner tries to angle it into the leg side and misses. Next ball, Warner pushes into the leg side for a couple of runs. A single to end the over.
A big shout for caught behind, the umpire gives it not out, Philander has a chat with Smith and they decide against the DRS review, replays show it was a good decision, Rogers did not edge it. Just two runs from the over.
Steyn warming up and will start for South Africa with the ball, Warner and Rogers open the innings with the bat, Rogers on strike. A single to Rogers with a push through the leg side. Warner plays the inswinger very well, timing it past mid off for four. Warner hits it solidly through the cover region for four. Good start from Australia, 9 for no loss after the first over.
It's a glorious day in Gauteng, so there shouldn't be any weather worries aside from extra sunblock and keeping the beer consumption at a responsible level.
The Proteas have picked Ryan McLaren as the all-rounder, as expected, though he is the more conservative choice. Otherwise, the side is as expected, with Faf du Plessis at four and Robin Peterson the spinner.
The Aussies hand a debut to Alex Doolan, who is down to bat at three, and Shaun Marsh is down to bat at four. No space for Moises Henriques or Phil Hughes.
Graeme Smith spins the coin, and wins the toss! The Proteas will have a bowl! Looking to get the pacemen on the park as early as possible.
Hello and welcome to day one of the first Test between the Proteas and the Baggy Green, which has been one of the more anticipated games of recent times. Will the Aussies be able to maintain their momentum, or will the Proteas' pacemen rip them to shreds? Stay tuned!