3rd Test: Ryan Harris, Mitchell Johnson keep Australia on top

Cape Town: Fast bowlers Ryan Harris and Mitchell Johnson shared seven wickets as Australia continued their domination on the third day of the third and final Test against South Africa at Newlands on Monday.


Australia bowled out South Africa for 287, a lead of 207, and added another 27 runs for no wicket before close of play.

Harris took three for 63 and Johnson four for 42.

Captain Michael Clarke`s decision to declare at Australia`s overnight total of 494 for seven paid off as his South African counterpart Graeme Smith failed again and South Africa lost four wickets before lunch.

Despite losing early wickets, South Africa scored freely during an extended morning`s play, reaching 127 for four off 32 overs at lunch.

But with the Australian bowlers achieving reverse swing as the ball got older, the scoring slowed to a trickle after in-form batsman AB de Villiers was caught at second slip off Johnson for 14 soon after lunch.

JP Duminy fell to a catch behind by Brad Haddin off Harris for four before Faf du Plessis and Vernon Philander came together in a seventh-wicket stand of 95, the best of the innings.

Du Plessis battled his way to 67 before Johnson returned to the attack and he edged a drive fast and low to gully, where David Warner held a good catch.

Du Plessis, who faced 134 balls and hit six fours, had two escapes. Wicketkeeper Brad Haddin, who took four catches, missed a stumping off Nathan Lyon when Du Plessis was on 30, then dropped a difficult leg side chance off Harris when the batsman was on 35.

With play starting 30 minutes earlier because of rain which cut 51 overs from the second day`s play, Clarke`s declaration proved a shrewd move because there was early movement off the pitch for the bowlers.

Smith was caught behind for five off a ball from Harris which seamed away from him. Smith has made only 42 runs in five innings in the series.

Dean Elgar made 11 before he was superbly caught by Haddin off James Pattinson, the wicketkeeper flinging himself to his right to hold an inside edge by the left-hander.

Alviro Petersen and Hashim Amla added 53 off 58 balls with Petersen reaching a fluent half-century off 50 balls with eight fours. But Petersen added only three more before he gloved Mitchell Johnson down the leg side for Haddin to take his third catch of the innings.

Amla looked in good form but was bowled for 38 when Harris made a ball swing back sharply to find a gap between bat and pad. It was the first evidence of reverse swing and it heralded a significant change in momentum with the remaining batsmen forced on to the defensive.

Pattinson, picked in place of Peter Siddle, because he offered more pace, took two for 77 and Shane Watson chipped in with the wicket of Kyle Abbott.