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Australia take complete control of 1st Test at Centurion

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South Africa were left needing another unlikely rearguard action with the bat as Australia established a position of total dominance on day three of the first Sunfoil Test at SuperSport Park. After Mitchell Johnson had wrapped up the South African first innings for 206 - a deficit of 191 - David Warner and Alex Doolan compiled a 205-run partnership for the second wicket to seemingly put the game beyond the Proteas.

Warner was eventually dismissed for 115 after enjoying more than his fair share of fortune as he was dropped three times on his way to three figures, while Doolan fell 11 short of a century on debut. Australia went to stumps on 288 for three, an overall lead of 479, with first-innings centurion Shaun Marsh on 44 and captain Michael Clarke on 17 not out.

Clarke will no doubt have memories of Adelaide in 2012 on his mind as he contemplates a declaration on the fourth morning.

South Africa batted out 148 overs to save that Test with Faf du Plessis’ epic unbeaten century the key contribution. More recently the Proteas faced 136 overs to earn a draw against India at the Wanderers in December.

However, the SuperSport Park pitch is proving rather more variable than the two surfaces that South Africa enjoyed those successes on, with several cracks forming to create unpredictable bounce.

The day began with South Africa on 140 for six, and Johnson picked up from where he had left off on Thursday as his fourth ball of the morning dismissed Robin Peterson.

The left-armer added the scalps of AB de Villiers and Morne Morkel to finish with figures of 7 for 68 and take his tally to 44 wickets in his last 11 innings of Test cricket.

De Villiers was the brightest spot in an otherwise forgettable day for South Africa, but was caught at mid-off for 91 as he pushed for quick runs with wickets tumbling at the other end.

Dale Steyn gave the home side a bright start to the second innings when he forced Chris Rogers to play on with his first delivery, but thereafter the Proteas were made to pay for their errors.

Warner was dropped on 26, 27 and 51, and the Proteas wilted further in the field over the course of the left-hander’s partnership with Doolan.

That stand was eventually broken when Warner edged Peterson to slip, and 11 overs later Doolan was caught behind off the bowling of JP Duminy.

Mini Scorecard:

Australia 397 all out & 288/3 (69.0 overs)

D Warner 115 (151)

A Doolan 89 (154)

South Africa 206 all out

AB de Villiers 91 (148) M Johnson 7-68