South Africa strike back with late wickets

Mitchell Starc

South Africa hit back with two wickets after Australia's second-string pace attack dismissed the Proteas on a dramatic opening day of the third and final Test at the WACA Ground on Friday.

After winning the toss and electing to bat, the Proteas were bundled out for 225 despite more heroics from Adelaide Test hero Faf du Plessis in a match that will decide the top-ranked nation in Test cricket.

However, the Proteas quickly struck back with a vengeance, claiming two Australian wickets in the hour before stumps.

Opener Ed Cowan was caught in slips by Jacques Kallis off pace spearhead Dale Steyn for a first-ball duck, before Shane Watson (10) was given out lbw to Vernon Philander on a decision review, after umpire Asad Rauf had turned down the initial appeal.

At the close, the home team was 33 for two, with David Warner on 12 and night watchman Nathan Lyon surviving a torrid examination from Steyn in the final over of the day to be seven not out.

Batting at number seven, second Test hero du Plessis again played a lone hand in the South African first innings with an unbeaten 78 off 142 balls that helped add vital late runs after they had slumped to 75 for six when they lost five wickets for 14 runs either side of lunch.

Australia were forced to completely revamp their fast bowling line-up for the match, with their three pacemen from the drawn Adelaide Test -- Peter Siddle, Ben Hilfenhaus and James Pattinson -- all ruled out.

Left-armer Mitchell Johnson was recalled for his first Test in 12 months, Mitchell Starc was promoted after being 12th man for the first two matches in the series, and John Hastings was handed his Test debut.

All were in the wickets as they decimated the South African top order.

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