South Africa were 140/6 in their first innings at Stumps, trailing Australia's 397 by 257 runs after Steven Smith crawled to his fourth hundred in his last five Tests earlier in the day. Smith and Shaun Marsh (148) had rescued Australia from 98/4 and taken them to 297/4 at Stumps on Day 1. The stand continued in the morning session of Day 2 till Smith reached his century, ending in a partnership of 233 for the 5th wicket.
Wickets fell quickly on either side of a 43 run stand for the eighth wicket between Johnson (33) and Ryan Harris (19) and Australia soon folded for 397. Steyn led the bowling effort with his 4/78 while Ryan McLaren's discipline put the pressure right back on Australia in the morning.
Johnson needed four deliveries for his wicket in South Africa, trapping Graeme Smith with a brutal bouncer. His tight line and pace cramped Alviro Peterson who stood deep in the crease and Haddin finished the dismissal with a great catch. Another bouncer caught Faf du Plessis with nowhere to hide and he was caught at second slip fending it. Johnson finished his first spell with 3/10.
AB de Villiers played out the rest of Johnson's first spell and had reached 10 when Amla fell to Peter Siddle, reducing SA to 43/4. Johnson was brought back immediately to hunt for quick wickets but AB welcomed him with a six when he banged it short. He made Siddle pay if his tight line outside off ever drifted across his legs. With JP Duminy, he added 67 runs for the fifth wicket before the latter fell trying to dominate Lyon, Johnson again contributing with a fantastic catch running behind from mid off as SA slid to 110/5.
Ryan Harris got a shot at Ryan McLaren before Johnson was given a go. He got the wicket in the second over of his spell, sneaking one in through McLaren's expansive defence. 126/6 and Robin Peterson to bat. AB had already compiled a 50, his 11th in a row in Tests when a bouncer from Johnson struck him on the arm and required assistance from the physio before he could bat again. With the skies turning grey and thunder and lightning providing more drama, Johnson began one more over. In the fading light, Peterson had no chance against Johnson's precise bouncer, jumping at him and making him play, only for the ball to land just short of second slip. Play was immediately halted due to the rain.