Adelaide : South Africa rode on a century by stand-in captain Faf du Plessis to take a 245-run lead at the end of the opening day of the third and final cricket Test against Australia here on Thursday.
Electing to bat first on winning the toss, South Africa posted a total of 259/9 in their first innings before du Plessis decided to declare.
In reply, Australia were on 14/0 in their first innings at stumps with Usman Khawaja and Matt Renshaw at the crease.
Du Plessis was the top scorer for the Proteas and remained unbeaten on 118 runs.
One of the few bright spots in an otherwise disappointing batting performance, the stand-in skipper hit 17 boundaries during his 164-ball stay in the middle.
Fast bowler Josh Hazlewood was the most successful among the Australian bowlers with figures of 4/68.
Fellow pacers Mitchell Starc and Jackson Bird clinched a couple of wickets each. Off-spinner Nathan Lyon also bagged a wicket.
As many as six South African batsmen did not reach double figures.
The visitors were off to a shaky start with Dean Elgar edging one to Khawaja at third slip while attempting a drive off Starc’s bowling.
The experienced Hashim Amla also did not last long, edging a Hazlewood delivery to Renshaw at first slip.
By the time Jean-Paul Duminy was caught behind off Hazlewood’s bowling, South Africa were in trouble at 44/3.
Du Plessis then joined opener Stephen Cook in the middle and the duo tried to bring the innings back on track with a 51-run partnership.
Starc brought the partnership to an end when he found Cook’s outside edge and Australia skipper Steven Smith took an easy catch at second slip.
Cook scored 40 runs off 99 balls with four hits to the fence.
The rest of the South African batsmen could not provide too much resistance to the Australian bowlers except for Quinton de Kock who scored 24 runs while putting up a 32-run stand with du Plessis.
After the visitors surprisingly decided to declare, Australian openers Khawaja and Renshaw saw off some excellent pace bowling by Vernon Philander, Kyle Abbott and Kagiso Rabada to ensure that the hosts went into the close of the first day’s play without losing a wicket.
South Africa (first innings): 259/9 declared (Faf du Plessis 118 n.o.; Josh Hazlewood 4/68) vs Australia (first innings): 14/0 (Matt Renshaw 8 batting, Usman Khawaja 3 batting).