Cape Town – Proteas bowling coach Allan Donald was left disappointed in his troops as Australia sailed to 331 for three on day one of the third Test at Newlands in Cape Town on Saturday.
South Africa took three wickets in the day, as David Warner 135 (152 balls, 12 fours, one six) and captain Michael Clarke 92 not out took the game away from the hosts.
“A lot of questions have been asked of us, and I was a little disappointed with the way we started this morning,” said Donald at the close of play.
“We were too full and now someone has to make a play and stand up.”
The big blow for South Africa came when Dale Steyn had to leave the field with a sore right hamstring in his 11th over. Team management said they would work on Steyn overnight and decide whether he could bowl on day two.
“He's going to have a little fitness test tomorrow, as he's a little stiff at the moment.
“If you lose the kind of bowler that Steyn is, your other bowlers just have to step up.”
The visitors had been using former spinner Shane Warne as a consultant, and the leading Australian wicket-taker in Tests said Warner provided the platform for his side.
“Dave set the tone first up, he puts pressure on the opposition so early,” said Warne.
“I saw a sign of maturity with his batting.”
Australia would need to pile on the runs on day two, as the wicket could deteriorate considerably according to Warne.
“If Australia batted poorly today we could've been close to losing the series.
“If the sun stays out with the wind, and we can score a big first innings, those runs will be crucial.”
Warner plundered the South African attack from ball one, and took just 104 balls to bring up his seventh Test century before tea. Warner was finally out for 135, when JP Duminy had him caught behind by AB de Villiers as Australia lost their third wicket on 217.
After Warner's demise, Clarke kept up the momentum as he brought up his 28th Test half-century off 122 balls (one six). It marked Clarke's highest score of the series, as he had struggled with scores of 19, 1, 23 and 17 in the first two Tests.
At the close of play Clarke (92) and Steve Smith (50) were the unbeaten batsmen, as they shared in a 114 run fourth wicket stand.
Before tea, Clarke, though, was targeted by the South African bowlers.
In Morne Morkel's ninth over, he produced a short ball assault on Clarke from around the wicket. With the third ball, Morkel struck Clarke on the side of the helmet and the batsman fell to the ground. After a delay for receiving treatment, Clarke was able to play out the over.
Donald was pleased with the fiery spell Morkel produced to Clarke.
“It's great to see how Morne roughed up Clarke.
“There has been a lot of pummelling in this series. We've seen a little bit of a series of pace and pain.”
Alex Doolan (20) was the only wicket the South Africans claimed in the afternoon session. Doolan was out pulling Vernon Philander, but he top edged it to mid on to Steyn as Australia lost their second wicket on 138.
In the morning session, Steyn took the first wicket for South Africa. With Australia on 65 for no wicket, opener Chris Rogers was out for 25 caught at first slip by Graeme Smith, as Steyn found the edge. – Sapa