Michael Clarke and Steve Smith strengthened the Australian stranglehold on the match as they reached 434 for four at lunch on day two of the third Test at Newlands, in Cape Town, on Sunday.

The duo put together a fourth wicket partnership of 184 runs as Australia passed the 400 mark.

After a period of tight bowling by the South Africans, spearheaded by Kyle Abbott, who produced considerable swing, Australia were able to surge ahead.

Abbott bowled six overs in the morning session, with five maidens at the cost of just a single run.

Captain Clarke spent half an hour on 99, before he managed to reach his 27th century of his Test career.

At the other end, Smith (84 runs, 155 balls, nine fours, three sixes) played a more aggressive role as he added 34 to his overnight total before he was out to Dean Elgar. The bowler dished up a short, wideish ball outside off and the batsman played on, to leave Australia on 401 for four.

Clarke (137) and Shane Watson (21) were unbeaten at the interval.

The Proteas took one wicket in the session at the cost of 103 runs from 26 overs.

The South Africans were also dealt a blow with the news that Dale Steyn would not bowl again in the first innings according to team management. – Sapa