AUSTRALIA recovered from a poor start to finish the opening day of the first Test against South Africa on 254-5 when bad light stopped play in Johannesburg Thursday.
Dale Steyn dismissed Phil Hughes (0) in the first over before Simon Katich and Mike Hussey followed to make it 38-3.
Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke added 113 before Ponting (83) fell to Makhaya Ntini and Clarke (68) went to Steyn.
But debutant Marcus North (47 not out) and Brad Haddin put on an unbeaten 72 to see Australia to the close.
â€œItâ€™s valuable to have those runs on the board because of the overcast conditions and the movement throughout the day,â€ Clarke commented.
â€œWhen they bat, the new ball will definitely seam around and there will be swing throughout, and our attack can cover both of those bases.â€
Australia named three new caps, with fast bowler Ben Hilfenhaus joining Hughes and North for the match at the Wanderers Stadium.
And Hughes, 20, had a nightmare start, slashing at a short Steyn delivery off the fourth ball of the first over and only succeeding in getting a faint under-edge through to Mark Boucher.
It was the worst possible start for an Australia side seeking to avenge the home series defeat by the same opponents in December.
Things soon got worse with Katich also dismissed cheaply by Steyn, although the bowler had much to be grateful to Neil McKenzie for.
Katich opened the face in an attempt to steer an off-stump delivery away but mistimed the shot.
He lifted the ball to the right of McKenzie in the gully and the South African dived full-length to pull off a stunning one-handed catch.
The South Africans were making full use of conditions which were good for swing, with Ntini and Morkel providing dangerous partners for the excellent Steyn.
It was Morkel who struck next, in the 14th over, as Hussey, who has been woefully out of form and looked uncomfortable, lazily edged a full delivery to Kallis at second slip. â€” BBC Sports