Perth:Australia were comfortably perched with a lead of 322 runs after the third day of the first Test against South Africa despite a spirited comeback from the visitors.
Australia were 228 for seven in their second innings at stumps on Friday with Brad Haddin (39 not out) and Jason Krejza (28 not out) at crease.
Earlier in the day, Australia took a strong 94-run lead, after bowling South Africa out for 281 in their first innings, with Mitchell Johnson ending with a career best 8-61.
The Australians could not continue with the same intensity as a resurgent Proteas drew first blood in out-of-form Matthew Hayden (4) early in the ninth over.
The visitors struck at regular intervals and left Australia reeling at 88 for four as skipper Ricky Ponting (32) and Michael Hussey (8) fell in successive overs. Ponting was caught behind off Paul Harris while Hussey's bails were clipped by Makhaya Ntini (1-55).
Michael Clarke (25) and Andrew Symonds (35), too, failed to stick their heels in on the crease for long.
Wicket-keeper Haddin led the fightback which included two straight sixes in an over from Harris and build an unbeaten 66-run partnership with Krezja to put Australia on top at close. For South Africa, Dale Steyn, Harris and Jacques Kallis took two wickets each.
It will be a test of character for South Africa over the next two days as they gear to stave off a sharp Australian attack on a bouncy WACA track.
Brief Scores: Australia 375 all out and 228 for seven (Brad Haddin 39 batting, Jason Krezja 28 batting; Dale Steyn 2-57, Jacques Kallis 2-19)
South Africa 281 all out (Jacques Kallis 63, A.B. devilliers 63, Mitchell Johnson 8-61).