Mitchell Johnson fireworks have Graeme Smith running scared

Australia 397 South Africa 140-6

Mitchell Johnson's rapid transformation from a figure of fun to Test titan continued unabated as Australia built on their early advantage on a dramatic day at Centurion.

After the events of the past 12 weeks, it now seems hard to remember that the scourge of England's batting order went into the Ashes series with his career in the balance. But after another blistering display of pace bowling ripped out the heart of South Africa's top six, Johnson is clearly here to stay.

Having dismissed Australia for less than 400 after Dale Steyn helped to finish off the tail soon after lunch, home captain Graeme Smith may have fancied his side's chances of at least achieving first-innings parity on a ground where the Proteas have only been beaten once. Given that Smith has twice had his hand broken by Johnson in previous encounters, he should have known better.

It took just four balls for the player who took 37 wickets in the Ashes whitewash to find his range, firing down a brutal bouncer that reared up to hit Smith's bat handle and loop into the hands of a tumbling Shaun Marsh at slip. Alvaro Pietersen followed in Johnson's third over but it was the wicket of Faf du Plessis that will have sent shockwaves through the home dressing room.

Clocked at more than 93mph, the ball was destined for the helmet of Du Plessis and the batsman could only spoon up a dolly catch to Michael Clarke to leave South Africa reeling at 23 for 3. That brought A B de Villiers to the crease, who attempted to rebuild the innings with Hashim Amla until the No 3 was trapped leg before by Peter Siddle.

J P Duminy offered some resistance before he fell to a brilliant catch from Johnson off spinner Nathan Lyon, then the bowler returned to remove Ryan McLaren cheaply. With Robin Peterson joining De Villiers' brave rearguard effort, they somehow survived any further damage and needed no second invitation to leave the field when the rain began to fall an over after another ferocious delivery from Johnson struck the South African wicketkeeper flush on the forearm. "I'm trying to be as intimidating as possible," Johnson admitted afterwards. "I think that [the broken hands] is definitely in the back of his [Smith's] mind, but it was just one of those balls that took off. I think I'll try and keep bowling like that to him and keep producing those kind of balls."

Having shared an unbroken stand of 199 with Marsh, Steve Smith had earlier recorded his third century in his last four Test matches but was dismissed as soon as he reached three figures after edging McLaren. Wicketkeeper Brad Haddin was out for a duck before Marsh's innings was finally ended on 148. But a late cameo from Johnson and Siddle pushed the momentum back the way of the tourists.

Meanwhile, Kevin Pietersen will be the only England-qualified cricketer at this year's Indian Premier League after 10 other English hopefuls, including Luke Wright and Alex Hales, failed to attract a bid at auction.

Centurion scoreboard

First Test (second day of five): South Africa are trailing Australia by 257 runs with four first-innings wickets in hand; South Africa won toss

Australia: First Innings Overnight 297-4

S E Marsh c Smith b Philander 148; 288 balls 0 sixes 15 fours

S P D Smith c Petersen b McLaren 100; 213 balls 0 sixes 13 fours

†B J Haddin lbw b Peterson 0; 3 balls 0 sixes 0 fours

M G Johnson b Peterson 33; 54 balls 0 sixes 6 fours

R J Harris b Steyn 19; 31 balls 0 sixes 2 fours

P M Siddle b Steyn 2; 11 balls 0 sixes 0 fours

N M Lyon not out 4; 3 balls 0 sixes 0 fours

Extras (b4 lb8 w11 nb2) 25

Total (122 overs) 397

Fall 1-15, 2-24, 3-72, 4-98, 5-331, 6-332, 7-348, 8-391, 9-391.

Bowling: D W Steyn 29-6-78-4, V D Philander 24-5-69-1, M Morkel 22-5-73-1, R McLaren 20-4-72-2, R J Peterson 15-0-49-2, J P Duminy 12-1-44-0.

South Africa: First Innings

*G C Smith c Marsh b Johnson 10; 8 balls 0 sixes 2 fours

A N Petersen c Haddin b Johnson 2; 12 balls 0 sixes 0 fours

H M Amla lbw b Siddle 17; 42 balls 0 sixes 2 fours

F du Plessis c Clarke b Johnson 3; 5 balls 0 sixes 0 fours

†A B de Villiers not out 52; 94 balls 1 six 5 fours

J P Duminy c Johnson b Lyon 25; 48 balls 1 six 1 four

R McLaren b Johnson 8; 33 balls 0 sixes 1 four

R J Peterson not out 10; 19 balls 0 sixes 2 fours

Extras (b10 lb2 w1) 13

Total (for 6, 43.3 overs) 140

Fall 1-11, 2-15, 3-23, 4-43, 5-110, 6-126.

To bat V D Philander, D W Steyn, M Morkel.

Bowling R J Harris 12-3-33-0, M G Johnson 13.3-1-51-4, P M Siddle 7-0-21-1, N M Lyon 11-0-23-1.

Umpires Aleem Dar (Pak) and R K Illingworth (Eng).

Sport
sportSo, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Arts and Entertainment
Dennis speaks to his French teacher
tvThe Boy in the Dress, TV review
News
One father who couldn't get One Direction tickets for his daughters phoned in a fake bomb threat and served eight months in a federal prison
people... (and one very unlucky giraffe)
Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
The Plaza Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia was one of the 300 US cinemas screening
filmTim Walker settles down to watch the controversial gross-out satire
Arts and Entertainment
Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz in Tim Burton's Big Eyes
film reviewThis is Tim Burton’s most intimate and subtle film for a decade
Life and Style
Mark's crab tarts are just the right size
food + drinkMark Hix cooks up some snacks that pack a punch
Arts and Entertainment
Jack O'Connell stars as Louis Zamperini in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken
film review... even if Jack O'Connell is excellent
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect