South Africa are on top at lunch on day one of the second Test at Adelaide Oval after restricting Australia to 3-102 in the first session, although Dave Warner is unbeaten on 67 and helping the hosts battle back.
Warner has belted 10 fours and a six from only 79 balls and is joined out in the middle by his skipper Michael Clarke, who is comfortably placed on 18 not out.
The pair's nifty 47-run partnership has restored Australia's innings after they collapsed to 3-55 at one stage following Clarke's decision to bat first.
On a drama-filled morning, the Proteas lost paceman Vernon Philander to a back complaint just prior to the start of play before veteran all-rounder Jacques Kallis was forced from the ground with a suspected hamstring injury after taking two early wickets.
Kallis left the field with figures of 2-19 after he dismissed Ed Cowan (10) and Ricky Ponting (four).
Towering quick Morne Morkel (1-30) has the other wicket for the visitors after he added to Rob Quiney's poor run when the left-hander was caught for a duck.
Intent on finding an early breakthrough as they did in the Brisbane Test, South Africa fast bowler Dale Steyn (0-33) fired a warning shot on the third ball of the morning with a delivery that beat Cowan's bat and almost snared the edge.
Morkel followed his pace partner the very next over with two close shouts after rattling Warner's pads.
The opening onslaught from the Proteas' pace attack was broken up by Warner in the fourth over when he thundered a square drive to the rope for the first boundary of the match.
Warner finally found his groove after a tense start by the sixth over when he smashed back-to-back boundaries through cover.
The diminutive left-hander continued to turn the tables on the South African speedsters, thumping another pair of back-to-back fours two overs later.
The 26-year-old's aggression almost cost him his wicket when he slashed wildly at Morkel, but the ball ballooned up over the slip cordon to the third man boundary.
Warner's explosive innings brought a bowling change as South Africa captain Graeme Smith introduced Kallis for Steyn in a move that paid immediate dividends as the 37-year-old dismissed Cowan.
A full delivery from Kallis swung in sharply late and struck Cowan on the toe and appeared to glance either his bat or glove before ballooning back to the veteran all-rounder who took a firm catch.
Confusion arose as to whether Cowan's dismissal was lbw or caught and bowled, but upon review using 'hot spot' footage, he was officially given out for the latter.
Australia lost another wicket in quick succession when the scoreless Quiney played back on Morkel and edged to Smith who scooped the ball up with a neat catch at first slip.
Ponting looked in for a big afternoon when he worked a boundary off the pads on his first ball faced, but it wasn't to be when he departed two balls later.
A yorker from Kallis panicked Ponting who shuffled in his crease before stumbling to the deck to see he had been bowled.
Warner's fireworks continued however as the powerful opener hooked a top edge over the long leg fence for six.
Clarke also chimed in with three boundaries of his own before the Proteas had an appeal for caught behind turned down on the stroke of lunch.