Australia still have their noses just in front at stumps on day three of the second Test against South Africa despite a third session batting collapse spearheaded by Proteas paceman Rory Kleinveldt.
After knocking the visitors over for 388 at tea on Saturday at the Adelaide Oval, Australia staggered to 5-111 at the close of play, for an overall lead of 273 following a gripping day's play.
Openers David Warner (41) and Ed Cowan (29) put on 77 at almost five an over for the first wicket before Kleinveldt emerged as the unlikely late-afternoon hero, stemming the run flow and initiating a 5-26 collapse.
The muscular paceman displayed renewed hostility and control, picking up 3-14 off six overs, to give the undermanned tourists, without the bowling services of the incapacitated Jacques Kallis (strained hamstring), a real sniff.
Warner and Cowan comfortably blunted Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel's new ball assault before Warner took the long handle to wrist spinner Imran Tahir.
Tahir, who was belted for 0-180 off 23 overs in the first innings, was introduced by skipper Graeme Smith in the 11th over at the Cathedral End, hopeful his Adelaide nightmare was over.
Bowling around the wicket, Tahir's first offering was short, wide and spanked by a rampaging Warner off the back foot just forward of deep point for four.
Tahir's second ball was even shorter and punished by the belligerent Aussie opener with a pulled boundary on one knee.
The fifth ball of the over was lofted high by Warner and almost caught by a circling Alviro Petersen.
Warner then cut the last ball of the over behind point for another four, Tahir conceding 14 off his first six balls.
The besieged leg-spinner was his own worst enemy in his third over when he should have dismissed Cowan, but for an unforgivable no-ball.
Tahir landed a peach of a wrong 'un, which was not picked by Cowan, the leading edge carrying to extra cover.
The umpires called for a video check of the front foot, with replays confirming Tahir had overstepped the line, reprieving Cowan who had already started walking.
The Proteas finally had something to cheer about the next over as Kleinveldt struck twice in the space of three balls.
The burly quick sent danger-man Warner packing after gaining extra bounce and forcing the opener to spoon a leading edge to Faf du Plessis at extra cover.
Two balls later, Kleinveldt possibly short-circuited the brief Test career of Rob Quiney, when the Victorian No. 3 edged one to wicketkeeper AB de Villiers for his second duck of the match.
With sidelined No. 3 Shane Watson on the cusp of a comeback from a calf complaint, Quiney's sharp fielding (four catches in three innings) and tidy seam bowling, which has seen him concede a miserly 25 runs from 19 overs, may not be enough to save him.
Kleinveldt picked up his third wicket when he disturbed Cowan's castle, bowling the Tasmanian through the gate.
More evening carnage was to follow when Steyn, in the second over of his second spell from the River End, claimed the crucial scalp of Ricky Ponting for 16.
With an ugly angled bat and playing well away from his body, the embattled ex-skipper, who entered and exited the ground to a respectful standing ovation, dragged Steyn's length delivery onto his stumps.
Steyn pumped his fists and let rip a primal scream in delight, while Ponting admonished himself with a holler of disappointed anguish, letting a prime opportunity slip with just five overs left in the day.
Nightwatchman Peter Siddle (one) feathered an edge off Morkel to de Villiers, to cap a 5-26 collapse.
With red-hot captain Michael Clarke (nine not out) in the middle alongside in-form Mike Hussey (five) and hot, dry conditions forecast for Sunday, South Africa remain somewhat behind the eight-ball.
Earlier, Smith (122) starred with the bat before debutant du Plessis (78) and hobbled veteran Kallis (58) combined for a brave 93-run eighth wicket union as the Proteas safely negotiated the follow-on mark following a 5-17 collapse in response to the home side's first innings 550.
Without the services of James Pattinson, who sustained a left side strain injury in the morning session, Ben Hilfenhaus looked dangerous in short bursts, picking up 3-49.
The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia
First Posted 24 November, 2012 6:24PM AEST