A rousing bowling performance saw South Africa take a handy first-innings lead against Australia on day two of the decisive third Test, with the retiring Ricky Ponting among the home side's failures.
Fans had flocked to the WACA in anticipation of one last masterclass from the departing Ponting, but instead it was the Proteas attack who grabbed the limelight as they took eight Australia wickets for 130 runs to roll the hosts over for 163.
That translated to a 62-run advantage following their 225 all out on day one.
Australia, who need to win to return to top spot in the ICC rankings, would have been in even worse plight had wicketkeeper Matthew Wade not made a fluent 68.
The hosts resumed on 33 for two in the morning session but David Warner fell to the first ball of the second over, aiming a brainless swipe at Dale Steyn's loosener to feed AB de Villiers a catch at the wicket. Warner paused for a moment before deciding to review the decision but technology could not reprieve him.
That brought Ponting to the crease to a rousing ovation and the clapping had scarcely abated when he scooped his first ball just short of mid-wicket. A nervy single got him going but nightwatchman Nathan Lyon was gone inside the same over, Steyn and Faf Du Plessis combining for the wicket.
Vernon Philander then played the role of party pooper, Ponting tucking bat behind pad before being struck on the knee-roll after some late inswing. Asad Rauf raised the finger and Ponting's unsuccessful use of DRS screamed of hope rather than judgement.
Australia were desperate to take the sting out of the situation but instead things went from bad to worse as in-form skipper Michael Clarke (five) was undone by another brute of a ball from Steyn. That left Clarke's side reeling at 45 for six and Wade decided to launch the counter-attack.
Michael Hussey made 12 in 40 balls before edging Morne Morkel to Graeme Smith at slip, but Wade continued unabashed, bringing up his half-century with a third maximum off Peterson.
Wade went into his shell somewhat after lunch and was eventually bowled by the left-arm spin of Robin Peterson for 68.
- Sports & Recreation
- Ricky Ponting
- Matthew Wade