Fast bowler Dale Steyn ripped out both Australian openers as the tourists were put under pressure on the first day of the first Test against South Africa at the Wanderers Stadium on Thursday.
Australia were 78-3 at lunch after winning the toss and batting on a pitch that gave the fast bowlers some help, with swing and seam movement.
It could have been worse for the Australians because captain Ricky Ponting survived a straightforward chance to Graeme Smith at first slip off Steyn shortly before lunch.
Ponting, dropped on 40, hooked the next ball for six and was unbeaten on 49 at the break.
Steyn had new cap Phil Hughes caught behind for a duck in the first over and then had fellow left-hander Simon Katich superbly caught in the gully by Neil McKenzie for three.
Morne Morkel followed up with the wicket of Michael Hussey, who was caught by Jacques Kallis at second slip for four, as the Australians crashed to 38-3.
Australia named three new caps, Hughes, batsman Marcus North and fast bowler Ben Hilfenhaus, for the first match of a series that will decide the official International Cricket Council Test championship.
It was a nightmare debut for Hughes, who flashed at a ball which he should have left alone, lifting above head height. He got a bottom edge and gave an easy catch to wicketkeeper Mark Boucher.
Australia opted for an all-pace attack but dropped Doug Bollinger, who played in the third and final Test of a recent home series against South Africa.
With North picked to bat at number six and possibly bowl a few overs of off-spin, all-rounder Andrew McDonald was retained to provide depth to the Australian batting. He was expected to bat at number eight.
South Africa fielded the same team that played in all three Tests in Australia in a series which South Africa won 2-1. — AFP