Australia in SA

Oz in full control at Newlands

2014-03-03 18:38
Ryan Harris and David Warner (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Fast bowlers Ryan Harris and Mitchell Johnson have shared seven wickets as Australia continued their dominance on the third day of the third and final Test against South Africa at Newlands on Monday.

GALLERY: Biff in pictures

As it happened: SA v Oz Day 3

With reverse swing playing a significant role, Australia bowled out South Africa for 287, a lead of 207, and added another 27 runs for no wicket before close of play.

It left Australia in a strong position to push for a series-clinching victory against the world champions, with 98 overs due to be bowled on both the remaining days.

"We want to be the number one Test side," said Johnson as he looked forward to having as many as five sessions to bowl again at the current top side.

Harris took three for 63 and Johnson four for 42.

South African top-scorer Faf du Plessis, who made 67, expressed surprise at how early Australia achieved reverse swing.

"I was really surprised to see the ball reversing after, I think, 27 overs, especially after rain (on Sunday) and a wet outfield. Obviously the pitch is nicely scuffed up so hopefully we can get the same happening for us."

It was a complete reversal from the situation in the second Test in Port Elizabeth, where South Africa gained reverse swing, while Australia failed to do so.

"We saw something after PE where we couldn't get the ball to reverse," said Johnson.

"Bowling second helped. The wicket was abrasive enough to bowl cross-seam. I don't always hit the seam so I could hit the rough side.

"Once we saw the ball wasn't swinging normally we did that straight away, so we weren't surprised at all. It was rough enough on the rough side and shiny enough on the shiny side."

Captain Michael Clarke's decision to declare at Australia's overnight total of 494 for seven paid off as his South African counterpart Graeme Smith failed again and South Africa lost four wickets before lunch.

Despite losing early wickets, South Africa scored freely during an extended morning's play, reaching 127 for four off 32 overs at lunch.

But with the Australian bowlers achieving reverse swing as the ball got older, the scoring slowed to a trickle after in-form batsman AB de Villiers was caught at second slip off Johnson for 14 soon after lunch.

JP Duminy fell to a catch behind by Brad Haddin off Harris for four before Faf du Plessis and Vernon Philander came together in a seventh wicket stand of 95, the best of the innings.

Du Plessis battled his way to 67 before Johnson returned to the attack and he edged a drive fast and low to gully, where David Warner held a good catch.

With play starting 30 minutes earlier because of rain which cut 51 overs from the second day's play, Clarke's declaration proved a shrewd move because there was early movement off the pitch for the bowlers.

Smith was caught behind for five off a ball from Harris which seamed away from him. Smith has made only 42 runs in five innings in the series.

Dean Elgar made 11 before he was superbly caught by Brad Haddin off James Pattinson, the wicketkeeper flinging himself to his right to hold an inside edge by the left-hander.

Alviro Petersen and Hashim Amla added 53 off 58 balls with Petersen reaching a fluent half-century off 50 balls with eight fours. But Petersen added only three more before he gloved Johnson down the leg side for Haddin to take his third catch of the innings.

Amla looked in good form but was bowled for 38 when Harris made a ball swing back sharply to find a gap between bat and pad.

It was the first evidence of reverse swing and it heralded a significant change in momentum with the remaining batsmen forced on to the defensive.

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