Late wicket flurry rocks Proteas

FOCUSED: South Africa's Graeme Smith in action during the first innings against Australia on day two of the first Test. 18/12/08. © Unknown.
FOCUSED: South Africa's Graeme Smith in action during the first innings against Australia on day two of the first Test. 18/12/08. © Unknown.

PERTH - Inspired bowling by left-arm paceman Mitchell Johnson put Australia on top on day two of the first Test against South Africa yesterday.

PERTH - Inspired bowling by left-arm paceman Mitchell Johnson put Australia on top on day two of the first Test against South Africa yesterday.

The 27-year-old took 7-42, his best figures in Tests, as the tourists stumbled from 234-3 to 243-8 at stumps.

Jacques Kallis and AB de Villiers both made 63 in a stand of 124 but Johnson then picked up five wickets in four overs to leave South Africa reeling.

Australia were all out for 375 earlier in the day, Makhaya Ntini taking 4-72. Australia's total was a good effort, having been 15-3 on the opening morning, and South Africa needed a positive response against an attack which, in Siddle and Krejza, had two players appearing in only their second Test.

But Johnson had other ideas, having been entrusted with the new ball in the absence of injured Stuart Clark, and he soon removed Neil McKenzie for two when a poor shot saw the opener caught.

South Africa shrugged off the setback and skipper Graeme Smith set about laying a solid foundation to their innings in tandem with Hashim Amla.

The pair added 90 for the second wicket before off-spinner Krejza produced a flighted delivery which deceived Amla and spun back to bowl him for 47. Australia made it a double breakthrough in the next over when Smith played on to a ball from Johnson and departed for 48.

Once again, the tourists had to rebuild but Kallis and De Villiers were equal to the task and batted together for 38 overs either side of the tea interval.

Krejza proved expensive, conceding 102 from his 25 overs, and home skipper Ricky Ponting eventually turned again to Johnson.

It proved the right decision as his devastating burst ripped through South Africa's batting.

De Villiers, Kallis and JP Duminy all edged to keeper Brad Haddin and they were followed back to the pavilion by Morne Morkel and Paul Harris, who were both caught by Krejza in the space of four deliveries.

Mark Boucher and Dale Steyn survived the final over of the day, bowled by Krejza, but South Africa were 132 behind at the close and facing an uphill task. - BBC

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