An unbroken 126-run partnership between Brad Hodge and Mike Hussey has put Australia in control of the first Test against South Africa at the WACA Ground, the hosts reaching 310-4 and an overall lead of 272 at stumps on day three.
Hodge is within sight of a maiden Test century on 91 and Hussey is unbeaten on 54 as he seeks a third hundred in as many games, the pair destroying the Proteas' attack in the final session with some glorious strokes as they guided Australia beyond 300.
Hussey was lucky to survive on 46, when he was dropped at mid-wicket, but brought up his 50 next ball with a boundary, while Hodge also had a life when a diving Justin Kemp put down a one-handed attempt at slip when he had scored 13.
Australia began the day at 38-1 - and level overall - in its second innings, 24 hours after bowling the Proteas out for 296, with Justin Langer and nightwatchman Brett Lee the unbeaten batsmen.
Matthew Hayden was the man who fell late on day two when he skied an attempted pull shot off Charl Langeveldt that was well caught by a diving Mark Boucher.
Lee did his job well, scoring 32 before he was trapped in front by Langeveldt in the morning session, while Langer had to receive treatment on his left hamstring shortly before lunch and returned to the field after the break with Hayden acting as his runner.
Clearly hampered by the injury, which puts in doubt his place for the Boxing Day second Test between the teams at the MCG, Langer fell when he chopped Shaun Pollock onto his stumps.
Ricky Ponting hadn't been at the crease long when he was brilliantly caught one-handed by Jacques Rudolph at square leg, only for Langeveldt's delivery to be deemed a no-ball.
Ponting took full advantage of the life, bringing up his half-century before falling late in the second session when he edged Makhaya Ntini behind to Boucher.
Hussey brought up the 200 for Australia with a boundary, before Hodge claimed the second Test half-century of his career in the 81st over of the innings.
Langeveldt bowled well early and was unlucky not to claim more wickets, finishing the day with 2-71.