Townsville - Marchant de Lange took 4/53 to bowl Australia A out for 239 runs on the first day of the first unofficial Test in Townsville on Thursday.
The South Africans completed a good day by reaching 26/1 by the close of play.
Only Peter Nevill (53*) managed a half-century for Australia as South Africa’s bowlers made it difficult for the hosts to score freely.
Kagiso Rabada (1/45) opened South Africa’s wicket-taking account, removing Marcus Stoinis for three in the fourth over after the hosts won the toss and opted to bat first. Phillip Hughes was sent back to the hut by Hardus Viljoen in the ninth, leaving the hosts on 29/2.
Callum Ferguson (47) and Tom Cooper led the revival of the Australian innings, adding 80 runs for the third wicket before De Lange broke the partnership with the wicket of Ferguson at the end of the 30th over. He returned two overs later to remove Cooper as well for 36.
Viljoen claimed his second wicket when he bowled Matthew Wade for 32 off 47 balls, returning figures of 2/34 at the end of the innings.
Simon Harmer (2/87) took his 200th first-class wicket after removing captain, Moises Henriques, for just one and Michael Neser for 31.
Cameron Boyce (4) fell victim to Farhaan Behardien, leaving De Lange to make quick work of tail-enders, Chad Sayers (7) and Gurinder Sandhu (0).
South Africa lost David White off the penultimate over of the day when they started their reply.