Pretoria - On a day where the Proteas dropped catches and frequently misfielded, wicketkeeper-batsman AB de Villiers said he was embarrassed by the efforts of his teammates on the third day of the first Test against Australia, at SuperSport Park, in Centurion, on Friday.
South Africa dropped Aussie batsman David Warner three times in his innings of 115 (151 balls), allowing the visitors to move to 288 for three and a mammoth lead of 479 in their second innings with two days still left to play.
“It's not an easy outfield to field on,” said De Villiers at the close of play.
“Still, our fielding was way below our standards. After lunch, the fielding was certainly one of the factors that made me feel almost embarrassed, and I'm just very disappointed with the way we fielded and bowled at times.
“There was just no intensity, which is not like us.”
De Villiers was honest with assessment of the match situation, and said his team would carry on fighting.
“We're in trouble. Australia have dominated for the whole Test so far.
“There's only one team playing in this Test match at the moment, and that's not us.
“But giving up doesn't exist in the team culture we've built over the last few years.”
Warner, meanwhile, said he could not recall a time in his professional career when he had been dropped so many times.
“The last time 1/8I've been dropped so many times 3/8 was probably back yard cricket really,” said Warner.
“I've had a couple chances here and there, but thats cricket. It's always good to have luck on your side.”
Warner also felt the South African fielding was below par.
“It looked pretty lazy the way they were fielding. And you'd also think you'd bowl stump to stump a little bit more.”
Warner shared in a 205-run second wicket partnership with Alex Doolan to help Australia claim a firm grip on the match.
The partnership came off 275 balls, and was allowed to blossom as Warner was dropped three times before tea.
Together with the debutant Doolan (89 runs from 153 balls), the pair scored quickly as the Proteas attack wilted under the onslaught of the Australian batsmen.
Warner finally departed for 115, caught Graeme Smith at first slip off the bowling of Robin Peterson as Australia lost their second wicket on 206.
Doolan was next to depart, slashing at a JP Duminy delivery well-outside off and was caught behind by De Villiers with Australia on 243 for three.
Unbeaten at the close of play were Shaun Marsh (44) and captain Michael Clarke (17). The duo had put 45 for the fourth wicket when play was called for the day.
Duminy had the best figures for the Proteas, albeit from four overs, with 1/12.
Before tea, Warner was dropped twice in the space of two overs. With Australia on 37 for one, and the batsman on 26, he top-edged a Vernon Philander bouncer to substitute fielder Dean Elgar who dropped the catch at fine leg after making good ground.
Morne Morkel then induced a flashing edge from Warner, on 27, which went above head height to Alviro Petersen at second slip. He got his hands to it but was unable to hold on to the catch.
Warner reached 51 before he was dropped for the third time. This time Smith dropped a sharp chance at first slip, off Ryan McLaren, as the Aussie batsman was given yet another reprieve.
With his score on 64, the 27-year-old passed the 2000-run mark in Tests.
The Proteas, however, strike early in the innings. Australian opener Chris Rogers was out played-on from Dale Steyn, as Australia lost their first wicket with just a single run on the board.
Earlier, South Africa were bowled out before lunch for 206 as Australia secured a 191 run lead in the first innings.
Mitchell Johnson was the chief destroyer for the Aussies, picking up 7/68.
De Villiers, 91 off 148 balls, was the sole South African batsman South to cash in as the next best was Duminy's 25.
Johnson picked up three wickets for 18 runs in the morning as the hosts added 66 runs to their overnight total of 140 for six.
South Africa had safely negotiated their way past the follow-on target of 197 when top-scorer De Villiers departed, giving Johnson his sixth wicket.
After the previous ball was hit through the covers for four, the aggressive batsman failed to clear Warner at mid-off who took a leaping catch.
Johnson's five-wicket haul came off his fourth delivery of the day when he had Peterson (10) trying to dodge out the way, but instead giving a comfortable catch to captain Michael Clarke in the slips.
After a partnership of 49 off 74 balls between De Villiers and Philander, Aussie spinner Nathan Lyon made the breakthrough dismissing Philander for 15.
Johnson mopped up, getting rid of Morkel for a duck to complete his seven-wicket haul.