AB de Villiers and JP Duminy hit centuries and Wayne Parnell took two wickets with his first three balls as South Africa put Australia under pressure on the second day of the second Test at St George's Park on Friday.
Port Elizabeth: In Port Elizabeth, Australia were 112 for four at the close in reply to South Africa's first innings total of 423. But South Africa missed three opportunities to increase their grip on the match.
AB de Villiers (left) and JP Duminy. Pic/Getty Images.
"It could have been worse," admitted Australian coach Darren Lehmann.
David Warner, who made a dashing 65 not out off 67 balls, was dropped by wicketkeeper De Villiers off Morne Morkel on 43 and nightwatchman Nathan Lyon was lucky to survive twice in the last two overs of the day. Lyon was given not out when he glanced a legside catch to De Villiers off Dale Steyn but South Africa failed to call for a review. Replays showed clear deviation off the bat. Then he was dropped by a diving Duminy at gully off Parnell.
"They bowled very well," said Lehmann of some fiery bowling by South Africa after the home side's innings finally ended after Australia had been kept in the field for 150.5 overs. "We've got to bat really well tomorrow. Someone's got to stand up and make some runs."
Lehmann said Australia's bowlers had done well on an unresponsive pitch.
"When a side bats for 150 overs you expect them to get five or six hundred. We managed to keep them down to 423 which was a good effort."
De Villiers (116) and Duminy (123) posted a sixth wicket partnership of 149 as Australia conceded a total of 400 or more for the first time in 13 Test matches.
De Villiers continued his prolific run-scoring form as he notched his 19th Test century, while Duminy ended a string of low scores to record his third Test hundred.
"I knew today was going to be a big day for the team and me personally," said Duminy. "It was important for us to put in a big performance."
Duminy said South Africa, who were beaten by 281 runs in the first Test at Centurion, were in "a really good position" but he acknowledged that there was still hard work ahead on a pitch where bowlers have struggled after the ball has lost its hardness and shine.
It was De Villiers' sixth century during a record sequence of 12 Test matches in which he has scored a half-century or better and never been dismissed for under double figures.
Vernon Philander struck early in the Australian innings when he trapped Chris Rogers leg before wicket for five - the third successive single figure score by the left-handed opener.
Fellow opener David Warner counter-attacked but Parnell plunged Australia into trouble.
Playing on his home ground in his first Test match in four years, he had Alex Doolan and Shaun Marsh caught behind with his first and third deliveries.
Philander returned for his second spell and had Australian captain Michael Clarke caught at cover for 19.
De Villiers and Duminy saw off the second new ball at the start of the day. Duminy, who had scored only 77 runs in his previous seven Test innings, was particularly impressive early on, hitting three boundaries in one over from Mitchell Johnson, whose pace was again negated by a slow pitch with even bounce.
Clarke tried some innovative field placings in an attempt to break the partnership, at one stage having four men in a ring in catching positions on the on-side, only for De Villiers to hit the only six of his innings over the fielders as Peter Siddle attacked his leg stump.
De Villiers faced 232 balls and hit 14 fours and a six while Duminy batted for 231 balls and hit 14 boundaries. Off-spinner Lyon claimed his fourth five-wicket haul in Tests, taking five for 130 in 46 overs.