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South Africa's pacemen routed Australia's batsmen with five late wickets to leave the hosts reeling at 111 for 5 at the close of Day Three on Saturday.
Dismissed for 388 at tea to trail Australia's massive first innings total by 162 runs, Rory Kleinveldt took three wickets in a withering pace assault, with fellow quicks Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel taking a wicket each as the Adelaide Oval pitch bared its teeth late in the day.
First innings hero Michael Clarke and Mike Hussey survived a nervous few overs as shadows crept across the ground, with the hosts stuttering to a still-precarious 273-run lead.
Clarke was on nine, with Hussey on five after a pulsating day. David Warner and Ed Cowan pushed the lead to 239, before Kleinveldt ended their 77-run opening stand amid a superb burst of swing bowling. Kleinveldt removed Warner for 41, the pugnacious opener miscuing a swipe off his pads to produce a simple catch to Du Plessis at extra cover. Kleinveldt then had Rob Quiney feathering an edge to wicketkeeper AB de Villiers in the same over, the Australian No.3 slumping to his second duck of the Test following a nine in his sole innings in Brisbane.
Kleinveldt made it a third in quick succession by bowling Cowan through the gate, before Dale Steyn had the out-of-form Ricky Ponting out for 16 when the former Australia captain played onto his stumps. Nightwatchman Peter Siddle strode out to the crease to meet Clarke but headed back quickly, managing just one run, after nicking to De Villiers off Morkel.
Brief score: Australia 1st innings 550 & 111 for 5 (D Warner 41; Kleinveldt 3/14) vs South Africa 388 in 124.3 ovs (G Smith 122, A. Petersen 54, F. du Plessis 78, J. Kallis 58; B. Hilfenhaus 3/49, N Lyon 2/91, P Siddle 2/130)