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Seamer Johnson punishes S Africa with his bat

Seam bowler Mitchell Johnson is reaping the reward of hard work in the nets, setting an Australian record partnership for the eighth wicket against South Africa with Marcus North on day two of the first Test at the Wanderers Stadium. See scorecard

cricket Updated: Feb 28, 2009 10:07 IST

Seam bowler Mitchell Johnson is reaping the reward of hard work in the nets, setting an Australian record partnership for the eighth wicket against South Africa with Marcus North on day two of the first Test at the Wanderers Stadium Friday.

North made 117 and Johnson contributed an unbeaten 96 in guiding Australia to 466 all out at tea.

The South Africans reached 85 for three by the close, called three overs early for bad light.

"I think the last few months I've really focused a lot more on my batting," said Johnson, who had set a career-best 64 in Sydney in the third and final Test of South Africa's tour to Australia in early January.

"Bowling is my number one priority but there's been a lot of opportunities to work on my batting where I've probably been a little bit lazy in the past. It's something that I really enjoy and hopefully I can keep improving."

South African all-rounder Jacques Kallis, who became the eighth player to reach 10 000 Test runs during his innings of 27, felt the South Africans had let the tourists get away from them.

"They probably got too many on that deck," Kallis said. "There is a bit in there for the bowlers so we are a bit disappointed they got as many as they did, but having said that they did play well and put us under pressure."

Australia's attack ripped through South Africa's top order in the final session as the tourists remained in the driving seat.

Opening batsman Neil McKenzie was at the crease on 35 with AB de Villiers on 13 in an unbroken 36-run stand for the fourth wicket when stumps were drawn.

New-ball seamers Johnson and debutant Ben Hilfenhaus needed only eight deliveries to have the South Africans struggling with two wickets down, Graeme Smith and Hashim Amla, and as many runs on the board.

After Kallis was removed by Peter Siddle, leaving South Africa in further trouble at 49 for three, McKenzie and De Villiers set about steadying the ship.

North, the first Australian to compile a century against South Africa on debut, and Brad Haddin had earlier resumed Australia's first innings at 254 for five.