Australia closed on 245 for 9 when bad light stopped play prematurely, trailing by 66, with a fighting partnership of 66 for the ninth wicket between Tim Paine and Nathan Lyon having clawed them out of a hole at 175 for 8.
South Africa dropped Lyon three times in his bolshy innings of 47, and were once again being frustrated by Paine, who finished unbeaten on 33. It took an excellent catch from the other man of the hour, Dean Elgar, to break the stand and give Morkel his fourth wicket.
Morne Morkel is not from this part of the country, but some of his best spells have come here and there was no shortage of support as he became just the fifth South African bowler to reach 300 Test wickets.
The pair’s performance extolled the better virtues of South Africans on a day when a handful of the 10,095 Newlands fans were evicted from the ground. First David Warner was subjected to a verbal encounter that stopped him dead in his tracks as he walked up the stairs in the wake of his dismissal, and a group of spectators were later removed for singing inappropriate comments about Warner and his wife.
South Africa’s advantage was aided on the second morning by the stand between Elgar and Kagiso Rabada, which was extended to 50. Rabada continues to look a more capable batsman than his position at No 10 might suggest, while Elgar maintained his unusual fluency from the first day. That included the sight of the left-hander hitting Josh Hazlewood back over his head for a one-bounce four to bring up the fifty stand.
SA 311 (97.5 ov) | Elgar 141*, de Villiers 64 | Cummins 4/78
AUS 245/9 (67 ov) | Bancroft 77 | Morkel 4/87, Rabada 3/81
Stumps, Day 2: Australia trail by 66 runs