South Africa 189 (Jansen 59, Verreynne 52, Green 5-27) and 1 for 15 (de Bruyn 6*) trail Australia 8 for 575 dec (Warner 200, Carry 111, Nortje 3-92) by 371 runs
Melbourne: Australia bowlers struck early at the end of day three as they dismissed South Africa captain Dean Elgar to surge ahead in the game as the visitors trail by 371 runs in the Boxing Day Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Wednesday.
After David Warner took the honours on the second day with his double hundred, Alex Carey played a memorable inning to make the Boxing Day Test special for himself after the left-hander smashed his maiden test hundred.
Despite the favourable batting conditions, Elgar was unable to benefit from them as he gloved Pat Cummins on the third ball he faced.
Replays revealed that Carey took a good catch low to the ground as the edge faded on him, sending Elgar back for a duck.
Elgar was removed in this way for the second time in the series after also being caught down the leg in Brisbane's opening innings.
Australia resumed the third day at 386/3 and racked up 189 runs in 54 overs on a cloudy day.
Carey and Cameron Green, who overcame a fractured finger, added 117 runs for the eighth wicket against an increasingly worn-out attack.
Australia were not bowled out by South Africa despite bowling 145 overs over the course of more than five sessions on a surface that was favourable for batting.
Carey (9) and Travis Head (48*) started the inning for the hosts but Nortje struck twice in the third over of the day.
The pacer was on a hattrick after he removed Head (51) and Warner (200) to jolt the hosts early on the third day.
Australia captain Pat Cummins departed early after adding just four runs to the team's total.
Nathan Lyon played a quick-fire inning of 25(17) before being dismissed by Lungi Ngidi leaving Australia at 440-7.