Pacemen keep Proteas in the game
Dismissed for 388 at tea to trail Australia's massive first innings total by 162 runs, Rory Kleinveldt took three wickets in a withering pace assault, with fellow quicks Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel taking a wicket each as the Adelaide Oval pitch bared its teeth late in the day.
First innings hero Michael Clarke and Mike Hussey survived a nervous few overs as shadows crept across the ground, with the hosts stuttering to a still-precarious 273-run lead.
Clarke was on nine, with Hussey on five after a pulsating day in hot conditions.
David Warner and Ed Cowan pushed the lead to 239, before Kleinveldt ended their 77-run opening stand amid a superb burst of swing bowling.
Kleinveldt, a late selection following a back injury to Vernon Philander, removed Warner for 41, the pugnacious opener miscuing a swipe off his pads to produce a simple catch to Du Plessis at extra cover.
The two-Test paceman Kleinveldt then had Rob Quiney feathering an edge to wicketkeeper AB de Villiers in the same over, the Australian number three slumping to his second duck of the test following a nine in his sole innings in Brisbane.
Kleinveldt made it a third in quick succession by bowling Cowan through the gate, before Dale Steyn had the out-of-form Ricky Ponting out for 16 when the former Australia captain played onto his stumps.
Nightwatchman Peter Siddle strode out to the crease to meet Clarke but headed back quickly, managing just one run.
Australia (I Innings): 550
South Africa (I Innings, O/n 217/2):
Smith c Wade b Siddle 122
Petersen (run out) 54
Amla st Wade b Warner 11
Rudolph c Quiney b Lyon 29
De Villiers lbw Siddle 1
Du Plessis c Clarke b Hilfenhaus 78
Steyn c Ponting b Hilfenhaus 1
Kleinveldt b Hilfenhaus 0
Kallis c Wade b Clarke 58
Morkel b Lyon 6
Tahir (not out) 10
Extras (B-7, LB-2, W-3, Nb-6) 18
Total (all out, 124.3 overs) 388
Fall of wickets: 1-138, 2-169, 3-233, 4-233, 5-240, 6-246, 7-250, 8-343, 9-352.
Bowling: Hilfenhaus 19.3-6-49-3, Pattinson 9.1-0-41-0, Lyon 44-7-91-2, Siddle 30.5-6-130-2, Clarke 7-1-22-1, Hussey 1-0-7-0, Warner 5-0-27-1, Quiney 8-3-12-0.
Australia (II Innings):
Cowan b Kleinveldt 29
Warner c du Plessis b Kleinveldt 41
Quiney c de Villiers b Kleinveldt 0
Ponting b Steyn 16
Clarke (batting) 9
Siddle c de Villiers b Morkel 1
Hussey (batting) 5
Extras (LB-7, NB-3) 10
Total (for 5 wkts, 32 overs) 111
Fall of wickets: 1-77, 2-77, 3-91, 4-98, 5-103.
Bowling: Steyn 10-4-28-1, Morkel 9-2-24-1, Tahir 7-1-38-0, Kleinveldt 6-1-14-3.