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Johnson provides rare joy for battered Aussies
AB de Villiers brings up his hundred. Pic: Getty Images

Australia must score a world record 632 runs in more than two days to pull off a miracle victory in the third Test against South Africa at the WACA Ground.

After 111 overs of carnage, the Proteas were finally dismissed for 569 an hour after tea today, leaving Australia the almost impossible task which is more than 200 runs greater than the previous highest successful Test run chase.

At least the home side finished the day without losing a wicket on 0-40, with openers David Warner (29 not out) and Ed Cowan (9 not out) safely negotiating 13 overs at the end of the day.

Earlier, Hashim Amla scored 196 for the Proteas, while AB de Villiers managed 169. Mitchell Starc grabbed 6-154 for Australia while fellow left-armer Mitchell Johnson took 4-110.

Johnson grabbed the wicket of Amla with a brilliant return catch held in his right hand, then trapped Dean Elgar on the crease lbw for a duck four balls later to give him three wickets for the innings.

Unfortunately for Johnson and the Aussies it is almost certainly a case of too little too late.

The Australians had made only one breakthrough in the pre-lunch session, getting Jacques Kallis caught at fine leg by Johnson off the bowling of Mitchell Starc for 37.

Amla, who brought up his 100 in the first over of the day and his 150 int he first over after tea, played flawlessly before mistiming his on-drive off Johnson to be dismissed for the highest score by a non-Australian Test player at the WACA Ground, eclipsing West Indian Roy Fredericks' 169 in the 1975-76 series against Greg Chappell's Australian team.

AB de Villers gives Hashim Amla a congratulatory pat after he was dismissed for 196. Pic: Getty Images

The Australians had briefly managed to slow the Proteas galloping run rate before lunch. After going at six an over on their way to 2-230 at stumps on day two, more disciplined bowling saw South Africa score just 90 off the 27 overs bowled this morning.

Still, the Proteas are in the process of burying Australian hopes of a fairy tale finish to Ricky Ponting's career.

Mitchell Johnson celebrates the wicket of Dean Elgar, who collected a pair on debut. Pic: Getty Images