Australia 2-33 (David Warner 12*, Shane Watson 10, Vernon Philander 1-8) trails South Africa 225 (Faf du Plessis 78*, Robin Peterson 31, Nathan Lyon 3-41) by 194 runs.
South Africa got rid of two top batsmen of Australia at dyeing stages of the game as Faf du Plessis demonstrated another match saving innings in the 3rd Test.
The Proteas scored 225 runs before their innings came to end after utilising 74 overs and the Kangaroos reached 33 for the loss of two wickets in 11 overs.
The third and Final Test of the series commenced on Friday, November 30, 2012, at Western Australia Cricket Association Ground, Perth.
Earlier, Graeme Smith, the captain of South Africa won the toss and opted to bat first on a pitch which looked favouring both bat and ball. Smith came along with Alviro Petersen to open the innings and got a reasonable start by scoring 17 runs in the initial five overs. Petersen looked in a great touch and hit 2 fours in the seventh over as Smith got the first four of his innings two overs later. Graeme Smith became the first victim when he was caught by the Australian skipper, Michael Clarke, superbly in the first slip off Shane Watson for 16 as the total reached 38 runs.
Hashim Amla joined in next with Petersen and added 23 runs as the latter was clean bowled by Mitchell Starc for 30 runs. Jacques Kallis ran himself out two runs later as the Aussies bowlers took over and the visitors were reeling at 6-75. Hashim Amla lost his wicket for 11, AB de Villiers scored four runs and the debutant middle order batsman, Dean Elgar, was unable to open his account.
The emerging, man of crises for South Africa, Faf du Plessis, and Robin Peterson got together in the centre and started the repair work. They added 11 runs in the 34th over with a couple of fours and the first hundred of the innings illuminated on board in the 39th over. Faf du Plessis survived a leg before wicket appeal on a review claimed by the hosts from the third umpire which was initially rejected by the field umpire Asad Rauf. The pair enhanced the score to 132 as Robin Peterson was caught behind by the wicketkeeper Matthew Wade for 31 as Vernon Philander replaced him in the park.
Faf du Plessis took over as a senior partner and scored his 3rd successive Test fifty in the 59th over with a four. Philander defended his end nicely while adding useful runs and dispatched the first six of the day to Nathan Lyon in the 62nd over. The partnership was going smooth and enhanced the score to 196 in 67 overs when Vernon Philander was brilliantly caught by Michael Hussey who held a running catch appearing from deep mid-on for 30 off Nathan Lyon.
Dale Steyn became the ninth victim for just two runs as the new batsman Morne Morkel hit 3 back to back fours to Mitchell Johnson. He was caught at mid-on by John Hastings off Lyon on 17 as Faf du Plessis remained unbeaten for 78 from 142 balls with 12 fours when the entire South African side was bowled out at 225 in 74 overs.
Nathan Lyon was the most successful bowler with three wickets, Mitchell Starc and Mitchell Johnson held two each whereas John Hastings and Shane Watson shared one wicket each.
Australia had a horrible beginning of their innings when Ed Cowan was caught at second slip by Jacques Kallis off Dale Steyn for a duck on the third ball of the first over. Shane Watson joined in next with David Warner as Vernon Philander shared the new ball from the other end. The home side faced another blow as Shane Watson was adjudged lbw by the third umpire on a review off Philander for 10 once the field umpire, Asad Rauf, given him not out.
The Kangaroos lost their second wicket at 18 in 5.1 overs when the night watchman Nathan Lyon got together with Warner. They survived until the last ball of the day was bowled on their personal contribution of 7 and 12 runs respectively as Australia managed 2-33 runs in 11 overs.
The match is evenly poised at the moment and both teams will work hard on the second day to take an initiative in the game.