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Australia on top as 12 wickets fall on Day 2 of 1st Test

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AB de Villiers stood man alone against the Mitchell Johnson juggernaut as Australia looked set to take a commanding first innings lead at the close of the second day of the first Sunfoil Test match at SuperSport Park on Thursday. When rain brought a slightly early close to play, South Africa were struggling at 140/6 in reply to Australia’s 397 all out with De Villiers having completed his half-century for the 11th Test in a row to equal a record held by Sir Vivian Richards, Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir. He was unbeaten on 52 (94 balls, six fours and a six).

The Proteas, trailing by 257, were left still needing 58 runs to avoid the follow on although it was unlikely that Australian captain Michael Clarke would pursue that option. There is already a bit of uneven bounce in the surface and Nathan Lyon is extracting some spin, benefiting from the footmarks created by Johnson, and he will not want to bat last under such circumstances.

Johnson struck the decisive blows when he dismissed Graeme Smith, Alviro Petersen and Faf du Plessis in a new ball burst of just four overs to reduce the Proteas to 23/3.

Hashim Amla and De Villiers briefly steadied the ship before the former departed leg before wicket to Peter Siddle following a successful DRS review. De Villiers and Duminy then shared a stand of 67 before Duminy sliced a lofted shot into the deep off Lyon and was brilliantly caught by Johnson.

While the other batsmen struggled, De Villiers looked as though he was playing on a different surface against a different attack, such was his mastery.

Johnson finished the day with the excellent figures of 4/51 in 13.3 overs while the support attack did an excellent job, making the batsmen play all the time and sending down very few loose deliveries.

Earlier in the day the Proteas took six wickets for 100 in 32 overs as Australia went from their overnight 297/4 to 397 all out. Steve Smith completed his fourth Test century before being dismissed without further addition (213 balls, 13 fours) while Shaun Marsh finished on 148 (288 balls, 15 fours).

Dale Steyn took 4/78 in 29 overs while Ryan McLaren and Robbie Peterson finished with two wickets each.