Pace spearhead Dale Steyn rediscovered his best form to bowl South Africa into a commanding position on the second day of the third and final Test against Australia at the WACA Ground on Saturday.
With the first two matches ending in draws, a win would give South Africa the series victory.
Steyn’s four-wicket haul helped decimate the Australian first innings and hand his side a 62-run lead, before Proteas batsmen Graeme Smith and Hashim Amla ripped the match away from the home side.
Skipper Smith and Amla shared in a thrilling 178-run stand for the second wicket at almost seven runs an over as the tourists took a stranglehold on the top ranking in Test cricket.
At stumps, South Africa were 230 for two in their second innings, representing an overall lead of 292 runs with eight wickets left and three days still to play.
“When you see him (Dale Steyn) do that it is special and to be able to share the new ball with him is something special”
South Africa bowler Vernon Philander
Amla was on 99 from just 84 balls with his 18th Test century beckoning, while Jacques Kallis, dropped on three by Nathan Lyon from the bowling of Mitchell Starc, was on 17.
The highest successful run chase at the WACA is South Africa’s 414 for four in 2008.
Smith fell for 84 late in the day, brilliantly caught by a diving Lyon at deep square leg off Mitchell Starc to end a devastating partnership in just 25.3 overs with Amla.
Defending just 225 after winning the toss and electing to bat on the opening day, the Proteas rallied behind the fast bowling of Steyn to rout the home side for 163 off 53.1 overs.
Steyn had barely been a factor in the series, with just five wickets in the first two Tests, but tore through the Australian top order to finish with four for 40 off 16 overs.
Vernon Philander, who picked up two for 55 including the prized wicket of retiring Australian champion Ricky Ponting, said the Proteas had seized all the momentum in the Test on the back of Steyn’s early salvo.
“He’s the number one bowler in the world for a reason,” Philander said.
“When you see him do that it is special and to be able to share the new ball with him is something special.
“The way he can deliver in big moments is unbelievable.”