Australia lost three wickets in six balls as South Africa fought back on the second day of the second Test at Kingsmead on Saturday.
Australia were 351 for eight at lunch, adding just 48 runs for the loss of four wickets in a morning session reduced by half an hour by early morning rain.
Overnight batsmen Mike Hussey and Marcus North survived for almost an hour against some fiery fast bowling from Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel.
Hussey battled his way to his first half-century in five Tests against South Africa this season before he had his off stump knocked out of the ground by Morkel.
Hussey made 50 off 144 balls with nine fours.
Hussey and North added 63 for the fifth wicket at just over two runs an over.
Steyn and Morkel were rested but North (38) was caught at square leg off Jacques Kallis before Brad Haddin and Mitchell Johnson were dismissed off successive deliveries by Makhaya Ntini in the next over. — AFP