Redbacks on top despite Kelly's burst

South Australia have recovered from a forgettable 15 minutes to assume control of their Sheffield Shield clash with ladder-leaders Western Australia.

The Redbacks reached stumps 5-267 on day one at the WACA on Friday, Nathan McSweeney (66no) continuing his strong form and Harry Nielsen unbeaten on 37.

The pair ensured there was no more funny business after three wickets in four overs - including two in two balls from Matthew Kelly (2-29 off 23 overs) - threatened to ruin the Redbacks' day.

The Warriors won the toss and sent the winless visitors in on a WACA wicket that was expected to offer plenty for the bowlers.

The hosts could only muster a run-out on the stroke of lunch though, the Redbacks then losing just one wicket in the middle session to be 2-177 at tea.

But Kelly found a way through the stubborn Henry Hunt (71) in the first over after the break and then had Jake Lehmann chasing a drive from his next ball.

Liam Scott negotiated the hat-trick ball but Lance Morris sent him packing three overs later, leaving the Redbacks 5-180.

Normal service resumed though, Nielsen and McSweeney putting on 96 as shadows crept across the WACA.

Earlier Hunt and Daniel Drew (30) were cruising before Drew was caught on the crease by Kelly in the Warriors' only bright spot of the middle session.

Hilton Cartwright's direct hit run-out of Jake Weatherald (44) on the final ball of the first session was the only other source of joy for the Warriors before tea.

Kelly was the pick of the bowlers, with Cameron Gannon (0-62) struggling, Lance Morris (1-75) going for more than four an over and Aaron Hardie and Corey Rocchiccioli wicketless in 30 overs between them.