Mitchell Johnson finished with figures of 7-68 as Australia trotted to a 209-run lead at lunch on day three of the first Test against South Africa.
Johnson grabbed three wickets early on Friday at Centurion, including the prized scalp of AB de Villiers who fell nine runs short of a century after shepherding his side past the follow-on.
The Proteas, rolled for 206, reduced Australia to 1-18 and made good use of the new ball for 29 minutes before the meal break.
Spearhead Dale Steyn had Chris Rogers playing on with his first delivery, while Vernon Philander was equally troubling.
But Australia remain in the box seat for a first-up win in the three-Test series after Johnson landed some fearsome blows in the opening bout of the much-hyped pace showdown.
South Africa coach Russell Domingo noted after stumps on day two that his side had prepared as best they could for Johnson.
"He's done really well in South Africa on previous tours," Domingo said.
But never this well.
The left-armer's haul set a new mark for his best Test figures away from Australia.
It started with the scalp of Graeme Smith on day two, the first of three in an incredible four-over spell that was near unplayable on a bouncy pitch.
"I can't remember seeing four overs like that in a very long time," West Indies pace icon Michael Holding, who was calling the game, told AAP.
"It's great when you have the ability to bowl fast, but it's even better when you can put the ball where you need to on a regular basis."
Johnson later removed Ryan McLaren's off stump on Thursday, and on Friday needed four balls to grab his 11th Test five-wicket haul with the scalp of Robin Peterson.
The 32-year-old dug a short ball into Peterson's rib cage, and the spinner popped it up to Michael Clarke.
De Villiers, who came to the crease on day two with the score 3-23 after Johnson sliced through the top order, dug the Proteas out of serious trouble.
The only batsman to pass 25, he looked by far the most comfortable when Johnson cranked his pace up beyond 150 km/h.
De Villiers smacked Johnson for a fantastic driven boundary when he returned for a second spell on Friday, only to be deceived by a slower ball straight after when a hundred beckoned.
Johnson will start the second innings on a hat-trick, having wrapped up the South African innings with a fantastic bouncer to Morne Morkel that the beanpole edged to Brad Haddin.
Nathan Lyon claimed the other wicket on Friday, breaking a 49-run eight-wicket stand when he trapped Philander lbw.
Lyon's second wicket was Clarke's second successful DRS review of a lbw decision.