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Smith century before SA grab quick wickets


PRETORIA - Three quick wickets before lunch halted Australia's run charge but not before Steve Smith completed his century on the second day of the first test against South Africa on Thursday.

The tourists reached 374 for seven wickets at the interval after the departure of overnight centurion Shaun Marsh for 148 and Smith for 100.

Brad Haddin was dismissed cheaply after the home bowlers had toiled without success in the first hour but then forced a sudden breakthrough.

Australia resumed on 297 for four with Smith taking almost an hour to get the nine runs he needed to complete his fourth test century, scored off 213 balls with 13 fours.

He departed just two balls later as South Africa claimed their first wicket since just after lunch on the first day.

Smith, who had been leaving the ball with much success, seemed to lose concentration as he edged a straight delivery from Ryan McLaren to Alviro Petersen at slip.

Haddin was out in the next over, swinging at spinner Robin Peterson and trapped lbw without scoring. He faced just three balls.

Marsh's stout innings came to an end as he got a healthy edge to Vernon Philander and was caught by Graeme Smith at first slip, departing for his highest test score made off 288 balls.

He had only been called into the Australian side as an emergency replacement for Shane Watson, arriving just three days before the test.

Mitchell Johnson (28) and Ryan Harris (seven) were unbeaten at lunch, the former striking some characteristic lusty blows.

South Africa fast bowler Morne Morkel strained his shoulder attempting a stop on the boundary early in the day and went off for treatment but returned to bowl before lunch.

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