The performance vindicated the decision of the captain, Mark Taylor, to put the hosts in on a damp, well-grassed pitch and by the close the Australians, already one up in the three-Test series, had reached 10 for 1 in reply, Matthew Hayden being dismissed for a duck as Daryll Cullinan pulled off a smart slip catch off Shaun Pollock.
Gillespie shared four wickets with fellow pace man Glenn McGrath in the morning session, but then took the first three wickets after lunch to finish the day with 5 for 54 from 23 hostile and accurate overs.
Gary Kirsten was the first to go when he could only fend a Gillespie lifter into the hands of Hayden at short leg for a duck in the sixth over. Another Gillespie lifter saw Jacques Kallis lob a simple catch to Greg Blewett at backward short leg, also for a duck. The opener Adam Bacher survived an impassioned appeal for a catch at the wicket before he had scored but then fell to McGrath for 11, caught in the gully by Matthew Elliott.
Hansie Cronje, the South African captain, then recorded the third duck of the innings when he was bowled off an inside edge by McGrath to leave his team on 22 for 4. Cullinan and Herschelle Gibbs launched a mini-revival either side of lunch before Gillespie found a thick edge and Shane Warne took the catch in the gully to remove Cullinan for 34. Gillespie then removed Gibbs' off stump for 31 and had Pollock lbw next delivery - the fourth duck.
Brian McMillan and Dave Richardson offered some resistance with an eighth- wicket partnership of 85, but Warne took the last three wickets in quick succession to finish with 3 for 62.
Richardson, three runs short of his half-century, skied an off-drive to a tumbling McGrath and then McMillan pulled Warne to Steve Waugh at deep square-leg for 55. The innings closed shortly after when Allan Donald prodded a simple return catch to the bowler.
First day; Australia won toss
SOUTH AFRICA - First innings
G Kirsten c Hayden b Gillespie 0
A M Bacher c Elliott b McGrath 11
J H Kallis c Blewett b Gillespie 0
D J Cullinan c Warne b Gillespie 34
*W J Cronje b McGrath 0
H H Gibbs b Gillespie 31
B M McMillan c S R Waugh b Warne 55
S M Pollock lbw b Gillespie 0
D J Richardson c McGrath b Warne 47
A A Donald c and b Warne 9
P R Adams not out 5
Extras (b8 lb8 w1) 17
Fall: 1-13 2-17 3-21 4-22 5-70 6-95 7-95 8-180 9-204.
Bowling: McGrath 22-7-66-2; Gillespie 23-10-54-5 (w1); Warne 23.4-5-62- 3; Blewett 4-2-3-0; Bevan 2-0-8-0.
AUSTRALIA - First innings
M L Hayden c Cullinan b Pollock 0
*M A Taylor not out 7
M T G Elliott not out 1
Extras (lb2) 2
Total (for 1) 10
To bat: M E Waugh, S R Waugh, G S Blewett, M G Bevan, I A Healy, S K Warne, J N Gillespie, G D McGrath.
Bowling: Donald 5-2-3-0, Pollock 4-2-2-1, Adams 2-0-2-0, McMillan 2-0- 2-0.Reuse content