Australia are in control after day one of the second Test in Durban, despite a good final session from the South African bowlers.
The day belonged to Australia, but it could have been a lot worse for the Proteas as openers Phillip Hughes and Simon Katich put on an opening stand of 184. The green opening partnership evoked memories of Matthew Hayden and Justin Langer in their prime as they set about dispatching the South African bowling attack to all corners.
Morne Morkel in particular came in for some rough treatment in his opening spell going for 25 runs off his first two overs.
Hughes came out all guns blazing and quickly moved to his maiden Test century and things looked grim for the hosts before Jacques Kallis got the all important breakthrough when the youngster was caught by Neil McKenzie at gully.
Ricky Ponting contributed just nine runs to the Australian total before he became Paul Harris’s first scalp of the day when the Aussie skipper mistimed one and lofted it straight to McKenzie at deep mid-off.
Dale Steyn, who along with Morkel had a tough day, was finally rewarded when Katich lost his concentration and edged an easy one to Graeme Smith at first slip.
Harris then grabbed his second wicket of the day when he removed the dangerous Michael Clarke with a fine ball that pitched on middle stump and straightened before clattering into the stumps.
Australia will still be very happy with their day one performance but some good, tight bowling from Harris and Kallis in particular has given the hosts some hope.
South Africa will be hoping for a few early breakthroughs tomorrow as they look to expose the visitor’s tail, but if Ponting’s men get off to a solid start a score well in excess of 500 should be on the cards.
Australia 303-4 (1st innings)
Phillip Hughes 115, Simon Katich 108, Michael Hussey 33*, Paul Harris 2-64.
For a full scorecard click here.