Australia have taken command of the Wanderer's Test with a notably vibrant performance. Marcus North led the way with a calmly constructed hundred and upon his departure Mitchell Johnson cut loose with a vivid display that included five sixes and 26 runs taken from Paul Harris's 18th and final over.
Denied a hundred by a clatter of wickets, Johnson and company promptly tore into a tentative batting order. Jacques Kallis's achievement in reaching 10,000 Test runs was about the only consolation a shaken home team could take from the day.
North's debut hundred was a product of unwavering concentration. Resuming on the second morning, he looked every bit as comfortable and capable as he had been on his first trip to the crease. From the outset his work on the leg-side was efficient. Anything heading towards his pads was neatly tucked with a bat as straight as a Roman road.
At first Brad Haddin kept the newcomer company as Australia built on their overnight position. It took the second new ball to part them. Andrew Macdonald then edged his second ball into the cordon and the Proteas smelt blood. North needed someone to stick with him and Johnson obliged. A century beckoned till Morne Morkel's fortune finally changed.
South Africa started badly. Graeme Smith snicked a probing delivery whereupon Haddin dived and grabbed. Next Hashim Amla nibbled an outswinger to give Ben Hilfenhaus his first wicket. The Tasmanian swung the ball late and consistently in an auspicious first showing. To widespread delight from a boisterous crowd, Kallis passed 10,000 only to drive loosely to gulley. It was left to Neil McKenzie and AB De Villiers to reach stumps without further loss.