A stunning middle-order batting collapse has left South Africa reeling at lunch on day three of the second Test against Australia at Adelaide Oval on Saturday.
Resuming at a solid 2-217 in reply to the home side's mammoth 550, the Proteas lost three pre-drinks wickets, including skipper Graeme Smith for 122, and then a further two to slump to 7-273, still 78 runs adrift of avoiding the follow-on.
After a disastrous 5-56 opening session, the salvage job now rests with debutant Faf du Plessis (26 not out) and a hobbling Jacques Kallis (11 not out), who emerged belatedly at No.9 and was clearly suffering physically after straining his right hamstring while bowling early on day one.
The great all-rounder was severely tested - and troubled - by some short stuff from lion-hearted Peter Siddle (2-64) towards the end of the session.
But Australia suffered an injury setback of their own when young quick James Pattinson, sparingly used on Friday, pulled up lame after the first ball of his second over of the day and walked slowly off the ground after sustaining a side strain.
He has been sent off to have scans done, with the severity to be assessed.
But much of the damage had already been done.
Nathan Lyon, who replaced captain Michael Clarke at the Cathedral End after one over, started the rot when he sent overnight batsman Jacques Rudolph packing for 29.
With probing flight, Lyon drew Rudolph into an ambitious airy cover drive, which he forced straight to Rob Quiney at extra cover.
Seven deliveries later, and without a further run being added, Siddle broke through with the big scalp the Aussies desired most when Smith feathered one to keeper Matthew Wade off a good length outside off stump and was given out by umpire Billy Bowden.
Immediately and instinctively, Smith requested a review, believing his bat had made contact with the ground, but not the ball.
But Hot Spot technology showed the faintest of marks on Smith's outside edge and Bowden's initial decision was upheld, much to the South Africa skipper's displeasure and Siddle's joy.
The Australian enforcer had ramped up the pace and troubled the accomplished Smith at times before knocking him over.
The guile and patience of Lyon combined with the aggression and energy of Siddle was allowing Australia to get right on top in conditions favouring the batting side.
Siddle, man of the match in the most recent Test at this venue against India, was hostile with the old ball from the River End, and claimed another deserved scalp in his next over when he trapped out-of-touch South Africa wicketkeeper AB de Villiers leg before for just one.
De Villiers also called for a review after Bowden sent him on his way, but was similarly unsuccessful after television replays confirmed the ball would have cannoned into middle and leg.
After Clarke opted to take the new ball, Ben Hilfenhaus (2-43) sent a tentative Dale Steyn packing for one after the South African pace ace, promoted to No. 7, poked away from his body and outside-edged to Ricky Ponting at second slip.
In his next over Hilfenhaus sent Rory Kleinveldt's off stump cartwheeling after the big Proteas paceman launched a hideous swipe across the line when he had yet to get off the mark.
Debutant du Plessis was joined in the middle by a limp Kallis and the pair survived 10.3 searching overs from the disciplined hosts.The pair will need to bat for most, if not all, of the second session if the tourists are to get out of jail, however the home side may not enforce the follow-on anyway given Pattinson is off the field.