David Warner blazed Australia’s third century in three days after fast bowler Mitchell Johnson took 7 for 68, giving the tourists complete control over South Africa in the first Test on Friday. Warner’s 115 off 151 balls with 13 fours and two sixes was almost as blisteringly quick as Johnson’s bowling as Australia raced to 288 for 3 in its second innings at stumps on the third day for a huge lead of 479.
After Johnson ripped out the remains of South Africa to reduce the top-ranked team to 206 in its first innings, Warner and Alex Doolan (89) dominated with the bat in a 205-run partnership in the afternoon — Australia’s second double-century stand of the game. Doolan just missed out on a hundred on debut in the closest thing to disappointment for Australia in a dominating start to the series. Warner was dropped three times— and twice in the 20s — to compound South Africa’s problems as its fielding unraveled along with its bowling and batting.
After South Africa was 140 for 6 overnight, Johnson continued the carnage with three wickets in the morning to go with his four on the second day, with the home team rolled out for 206.
As he was on Thursday, Johnson was hostile as he removed Robin Peterson, AB de Villiers and last-man Morne Morkel. England’s main destroyer in the Ashes with 37 wickets in five Tests, Johnson lived up to that fierce reputation with seven wickets overall at Centurion from 17.1 brutal and at times unplayable overs.
De Villiers made 91 for South Africa’s only major contribution as it added 66 on the day for the last four wickets. Australia lost opener Chris Rogers to speedster Dale Steyn in the second over of its second innings to be 1 for 1 and 18 for 1 at lunch, but the tourists surged way ahead after that minor blip through Warner’s and Doolan’s punishing partnership. Australia was in position to inflict on South Africa a second defeat at the Centurion ground in 18 Tests, and the first since 2000.
Australia scored 397 batting first after being put in by South Africa captain Graeme Smith, with a career-best 148 from Shaun Marsh and 100 from Steve Smith. In his second over on Friday, left-arm quick Johnson began with a lifting delivery to remove Robin Peterson, caught in the slips, for 10.
He had De Villiers caught at mid-off by a jumping Warner, and was way too fast for tailender Morkel, who edged his first ball, a typically fierce short-pitched delivery, to wicketkeeper Brad Haddin. Offspinner Nathan Lyon returned 2-38 continued…