Graeme Smith and Hashim Amla bat South Africa into pole position against Australia in Perth
By Paul Higham Twitter: @SkySportsPaulH. Last Updated: 02/12/12 6:32am
Hashim Amla and Graeme Smith batted superbly
South Africa are in a dominant position after the second day of their decisive Test with Australia as they lead by 292 runs with eight second innings wickets still remaining.
Ricky Ponting's penultimate Test innings produced a rousing reception from the WACA crowd but they were soon on their feet again to wave him off after making just four.
South Africa motored into a powerful position with a ruthless display of bowling and batting - first of all running through the Australian batsmen for just 163 to leave the tourists 62 runs in front as they began their second innings.
The intent was clear to see from the visitors as they then put their foot on the gas immediately with the bat as a quick-fire partnership of 198 between captain Graeme Smith and Hashim Amla propelled them to a commanding lead.
It took a wonderful catch from Nathan Lyon to dismiss Smith for 84, from just 100 balls, but Amla was still there at the close as he walked off stranded on 99 not out from a mere 84 deliveries.
With a full three days remaining in Perth there is plenty of time for South Africa to steadily amass an unbeatable total and force Australia to fight for the lives to salvage the series.
Dale Steyn did most of the damage with the ball as he took 4-40 in the innings while the attack as a whole took eight Australian wickets on the day for just 130 runs.
Vernon Philander weighed in with two wickets to help Steyn carve up the top order - including catch Shane Watson and Ponting lbw for a combined 14 runs.
It could have been even worse for Australia had wicketkeeper Matthew Wade and paceman John Hastings not offered at least some resistance with the bat late in the order.
Wade made a fluent 68 and Hastings 32 to get Michael Clarke's men even somewhere near South Africa's total - both men were removed by Robin Peterson as the left-arm spinner claimed the final three wickets to mop up the innings.
South Africa walked back out just before tea with their 62-run lead, and despite losing Alviro Petersen for 28, Amla and Smith put the Aussie bowling to the sword to gallop away with the game.
Smith brought up his 50 off 67 balls but Amla eclipsed that and managed his in just 37 and in a hurry the game was already wandering away from Australia's grasp.
Only Lyon's brilliant full-length diving catch stopped Smith in his tracks, but Amla was there at the close and Jacques Kallis was keeping him company on 17 at stumps.
With a 292-run lead after just two days of play, South Africa look primed to take the Test and the series, and it looks like being a long way back for Australia.