Two wickets in four deliveries from Mitchell Johnson helped Australia take control of the first Test against South Africa, with the hosts collapsing to 158 for eight at lunch on day three – still 109 runs short of the follow-on.
The paceman struck in the seventh of a nine-over spell when he had JP Duminy (17) and Mark Boucher (0) both caught behind by Brad Haddin, with the hosts’ only resistance coming from AB de Villiers on 63 not out.
Resuming on 85 for three on another overcast day at the Wanderers, Neil McKenzie added just one more run to his overnight score before he was dismissed in the fourth over of the morning.
Peter Siddle was the bowler, delivering a good ball that cut back off the pitch and hit the Proteas opener just below the knee roll with umpire Steve Bucknor having no doubt in giving the batsman out leg before wicket.
McKenzie was not convinced, though, and opted to use the first of two available referrals, which proved a wrong decision as he was given out for 36.
In Siddle’s next over, he fired in a short ball to Duminy that looked to have clipped something along the way to Haddin, but after Ricky Ponting decided to go upstairs, he then reversed his call after the camera required for the replay broke down.
The South Africa number six batsman then received another let off when Ponting put down a relatively comfortable chance at second slip when he was on 13.
But the hosts threw away any initiative that had been slowly developing when Duminy, who added four more runs after that chance, tried to guide a leg side delivery from Johnson past Haddin, but only succeeded in gloving the ball to the wicketkeeper.
Three deliveries later the same two Australian players combined to dismiss Boucher, who feathered behind for a duck – the South Africa batsman challenging Billy Bowden’s call, but his fate was confirmed by third umpire Asad Rauf.
De Villiers then brought up a crucial half-century off 122 deliveries when he tapped Siddle for two, but the wickets continued to tumble around him.
Morne Morkel was next to follow when he tried to pull a short delivery from the same bowler and only succeeded in a tame top-edge that was snapped up by the bowler for two.
In the very next over Marcus North picked up his first Test wicket by trapping Paul Harris leg before for one as Australia turned the screw on their hosts.
Johnson was the pick of the bowlers claiming three for 25 in 18 overs, while Siddle bagged three for 65 in 17.
After the lunch interval, Dale Steyn offered De Villiers good support as he edged closer towards his century.
He had one scare in the early nineties when Ponting decided to refer a decision by Bowden not to give him out leg before wicket off an Andrew McDonald delivery, which proved the correct call by the on-field umpire.
The South African pair brought up the 50 partnership in 82 balls, but three balls later, Steyn’s dogged effort came to an end when he gave all-rounder McDonald his first wicket of the game by edging him to North at first slip for 17.
De Villiers continued his charge towards an eighth Test century, bringing up his ton in 181 deliveries with the second delivery off the new ball, when he pulled a short one from Ben Hilfenhaus through midwicket for four.
And in the next over, Johnson cleaned up Makhaya Ntini for one, leaving his partner not out on 104 as the hosts were all out for 220, still 47 short of the follow-on, which the tourists decided not to enforce.