Starc's five-for and Lyon's spin leave Australia in command

South Africa fell for just 162 in reply to Australia's 351 on day two of the first Test, with Mitchell Starc in devastating form.

Australia celebrate with Mitchell Starc   -  Getty Images

Mitchell Starc's stunning five-for and a brilliant spell from Nathan Lyon backed up Mitchell Marsh's gritty 96 as Australia seized control of the first Test against South Africa.

The tourists posted what proved a more-than-competitive 351 on the back of Marsh's knock at Kingsmead - Keshav Maharaj (5-123) building on a solid opening day to claim a five-for of his own for South Africa.

Lyon then made the initial breakthroughs of Dean Elgar (7) and Hashim Amla (0), before Starc tore through South Africa's middle and lower order in a typically devastating display.

AB de Villiers was South Africa's only form of resistance, the big-hitting batsman hitting a fine 71 not out, but a lack of meaningful partnerships, thanks largely to Starc's devastating spell, meant the Proteas woefully collapsed to 162 all out. 

Resuming on 225-5, Australia made serene morning progress which included a laboured partnership between Marsh and Pat Cummins that yielded just 14 runs in 10 overs.

The arrival of Starc brought about a surge in runs, the seamer going on the counter-attack including whacking Maharaj for two sixes and belting another four fours – including three in an over off Morne Morkel.

Starc fell to Maharaj with the last ball of the morning session, but Marsh accelerated in the afternoon including a maximum off the spinner over the leg-side boundary.

A moment of impatience in a measured knock proved his undoing when he holed Vernon Philander to Morkel at mid-on, and that quickly spelled the end of Australia's innings.

South Africa initially made steady progress in reply before Lyon was handed the ball in the eighth over, with Elgar chipping one straight back to the bowler before two deliveries later Amla squeezed one off bat and pad to short leg.

Aiden Markram (32) was well set, but popped an easy one off Cummins for Cameron Bancroft to snaffle again at short leg as South Africa headed into tea at 55-3.

De Villiers' attacking instincts provided a ray of hope for South Africa, and he got stuck in after tea driving the Australia attack around the ground, including a lofted six off Lyon at wide long on.

But the steady loss of wickets continued. Starc re-entered the fray and delivered one around the wicket that straightened up and caused Faf Du Plessis (15) to nick behind, before Theunis de Bruyn (6) was bamboozled by one the paceman got to nip away.

De Villiers carried on regardless, but the ending of a promising 42-run stand with Quinton de Kock (20) – who lost a skidded Lyon delivery – hurt South Africa's recovery.

Philander – having just survived a review – then nicked Starc behind and, after Hazlewood clean-bowled Maharaj, the paceman swept up Kagiso Rabada (3) and Morkel (0) to end a sorry South Africa innings.