Andrew McDonald claimed three wickets in the final session to ensure Australia maintained a firm grip on the second Test against South Africa in Durban with the host reaching stumps at 7-138.
Paul Harris, Jacques Kallis and Morne Morkel were all victims of the all-rounder’s nagging medium pace, which followed Mitchell Johnson’s earlier burst that reduced the Proteas to 2-0 in the first over of their innings.
The Australian paceman was also responsible for injuring Graeme Smith and then Kallis with two brutal deliveries that forced the pair to retire as the home side saw its morning effort, which claimed the visitors’ last six wickets for a miserly 23 runs to bowl them out for 352, thrown out the window.
In the end JP Duminy was left to carry South African hopes with his unbeaten 73 helping it reduce the deficit to 214, still 15 runs short of avoiding the follow-on.
Resuming after tea with the score at 4-62, Duminy reached his half-century from 88 balls when played Peter Siddle through the gully region for four, before McDonald snared Harris with a good delivery that jagged back to bowl the batsman for four.
Two balls later he dismissed Kallis, who returned to bat after x-rays revealed no serious damage to his jaw, which was hit by a Johnson delivery.
The South African all-rounder chipped a tame delivery on leg stump straight to Ricky Ponting at short mid-wicket for 22.
McDonald then cleaned up Morkel for a duck as the home side slumped to 7-106, before Dale Steyn (eight not out) and Duminy took the hosts to the close without further damage.
Before the tea break, Johnson was the star as his double strike at the start of the South African response left it 2-0 after just five balls.
The paceman removed Neil McKenzie and Hashim Amla for ducks, before dishing out injuries to Smith and Kallis – the former more serious as his broken little finger on his right hand ruling him out for the next Test.
McKenzie was first out when he found a short delivery outside off stump too hard to resist and got a fine edge to Brad Haddin, with Amla next to follow courtesy of a fine inswinging delivery that trapped him leg before wicket.
In Johnson’s next over, Smith was hit plush on the right hand as he tried to fend off a short delivery on the leg side and was forced to retire hurt for two.
AB de Villiers was next to go when Ben Hilfenhaus managed to get a good length delivery to cut back sharply, trapping the batsman lbw for three as the hosts slumped to 3-6.
But Duminy and Kallis then consolidated, bringing up the 50-run stand in just under 18 overs, before the South African all-rounder was knocked down with a bloody chin after being struck by Johnson.
He had to go off for 22 leaving the home side in a desperate position, which only got worse when tea was called after Boucher was cleaned up by the same bowler when he was yorked for one.
During the morning, a much-improved bowling performance from South Africa helped it fight back to dismiss Australia for 352.
Only 48 runs were scored at the cost of four wickets in a morning that was cut short by rain, with the visitors’ only plus point coming courtesy of Michael Hussey’s half century.
Play started 30 minutes late due to a wet outfield, but Australia, resuming on 4-303 made a steady start with Hussey reaching his 14th half-century off 137 balls.
But he was ruffled by Steyn in the 11th over of the day – the paceman knocking him on the head with a brutal bouncer that was followed by two similar deliveries as the pair exchanged words.
And the very next over Morkel took full advantage when he bowled the Western Australian for 50.
North was next to go for 38, caught by Steyn at square leg, before Ntini had Haddin (five) and Johnson (nought) out in the same over – the former caught by Amla at midwicket, with the latter trapped plumb in front for a first ball duck as tourists went into lunch clearly shaken by a rejuvenated South Africa.
And it took only four deliveries after lunch for the tail to be wrapped up.
Steyn had Siddle caught behind by Boucher with his second ball without scoring, before Hilfenhaus also went for nought when he edged the same bowler straight to Smith at first slip.
Steyn was the pick of the bowlers with 3-83 in 25.4 overs, while there were two wickets each for Ntini, Kallis and Harris.