Warner silences South Africa

Australia made a perfect start to the crucial third and final Test against South Africa, finishing day one at Newlands on 331-3 after opting to bat first.

Opener David Warner led the way with 135 while skipper Michael Clarke survived a bumper barrage from Morne Morkel to reach stumps unbeaten on 92.

Steve Smith was alongside his captain with 50 not out to his name, the pair having shared an unbroken stand of 114, as the tourists cashed in to put themselves in a promising position in the series decider.

South Africa's cause wasn't helped by the loss of Dale Steyn, the paceman limping off after lunch due to a problem with his right hamstring.

A decision will be made on Sunday if Steyn is able to bowl again, with the hosts desperately needing the services of their spearhead on a benign surface.

Fighting talk

After making news in the build-up to the match in Cape Town with comments about South Africa's ability to reverse swing the ball in the second Test, a match they won convincingly, Warner this time let his bat do the talking.

The left-hander - who was fined 15 percent of his match fee for his provocative words - recorded his seventh Test ton and his second of the series before falling to off-spinner JP Duminy.

By that stage he had hit one six and 12 fours and shared in three useful partnerships that helped back up Clarke's decision at the toss.

An opening stand of 65 was eventually broken by Steyn, as he had Chris Rogers caught at second slip by skipper Graeme Smith for 25.

Alex Doolan made a patient 20 off 66 deliveries, with Warner comfortably the dominant partner in their 73-run alliance, before losing his cool as he tried to pull Vernon Philander, spooning a catch to Steyn at mid-on.

Morkel did his best to see off Clarke during a hostile spell that saw the Australian peppered, one nasty blow on his left forearm seeing him require treatment.

However, he weathered the storm and although Warner fell with the score on 217, Smith came out to help plunder runs against a tiring bowling unit deprived of the services of their leading man.

Watch day 2 of the third Test live on Sky Sports 3 HD from 8.25am on Sunday.