Centurion: Australian fast bowler Mitchell Johnson claimed his career-best match figures as he bowled his team to a crushing 281-run win over South Africa on the fourth day of the first Test at SuperSport Park on Saturday.

Mitchell Johnson career-best match figures of 12-127 to demolish SA
Mitchell Johnson career-best match figures of 12-127 to demolish SA 

Johnson followed up his seven for 68 in the first innings with five for 59 as South Africa were bundled out for 200. As he did in the first innings, Johnson took a wicket in his first over and dismissed both South African opening batsmen cheaply to leave the hosts struggling.

AB de Villiers, who made 91 in the first innings, again provided the only significant resistance to the Johnson-inspired bowling attack, hitting 48 before driving Johnson to short cover where Australian captain Michael Clarke held a stinging catch.

Johnson's match figures of 12-127 bettered his previous best of 11-159 against South Africa in Perth in 2008/09. It was a match dominated almost entirely by Australia, who thoroughly outplayed the team currently ranked number one in Test cricket.

Given the performance of Johnson in particular, it will be difficult for South Africa to come back in the two remaining Test matches.

South Africa have not been beaten in a series since Australia beat them, also in South Africa, in 2008/09. As he did in the first innings, Johnson took a wicket in his first over, having Alviro Petersen caught behind for one.

It was Johnson's 250th Test wicket in his 57th Test match. South African captain Graeme Smith, who was Johnson's first over victim in the first innings, hit a four off a thick outside edge in Johnson's second over but then fell to a superb catch by Alex Doolan when Smith clipped the ball firmly to short leg.

Faf du Plessis was the third man out, with the total on 49, falling victim to a ball which shot through low from Peter Siddle and trapped him in front of his stumps. Hashim Amla made a solid 35 before he was caught at first slip off Ryan Harris.

Johnson, who took seven for 68 in the first innings, completed the third ten-wicket haul of his Test career when Doolan made another outstanding catch at short leg, snapping up JP Duminy.

There was a hold-up shortly before the tea break when a Johnson bouncer hit the earpiece of Ryan McLaren's helmet, with the batsman needing treatment on the field before continuing.

Brief scores
Australia 397 (Marsh 148, Smith 100, Steyn 4-78) and 290 for 4 dec (Warner 115, Doolan 89) beat South Africa 206 (de Villiers 91, Johnson 7-68) and 200 (de Villiers 48, Johnson 5-59) by 281 runs