MITCHELL Johnson sent a pre-Test message with four wickets as Australia claimed a strong position at stumps on day one of their tour match against South Africa A.
Johnson, who felt he was bowling on a `WACA-like pitch' in Potchefstroom, took 4-38 as the hosts were dismissed for just 183 in their first innings with fellow quicks Peter Siddle and Shane Watson claiming three wickets each.
The South Africa A side struck back after tea with three-quick wickets of their own, leaving the tourists reeling at 3-21 off just 12 overs.
Watson (6), Phil Hughes (4) and Ricky Ponting (2) all departed cheaply, leaving Shaun Marsh (51no) and Michael Clarke (41no) to resurrect Australia's reply and get them to 3-115 at stumps.
Given the Senwes Park pitch was a bowler's paradise, the pair did exceptionally well to build a 94-run fourth-wicket stand, and bring the Australians to within 68 runs of a first innings lead.
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