Australia collapse hard to take for Warner

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David Warner felt a sense of deja vu as he watched a calamitous Australia batting collapse on day two of the first Test against South Africa which the vice-captain said was "hard to take".

Australia capitulated after Warner was dismissed for 97 at the WACA on Friday, crumbling to 244 all out after they were 158-0 in reply to South Africa's 212 despite the tourists losing Dale Steyn for the series with a fractured shoulder.

Vernon Philander (4-56) was the pick of the bowlers for the Proteas, who led by 102 at stumps after Dean Elgar (46 not out) and JP Duminy (34no) moved them on to 104-2.

Warner felt it was an all-too familiar story after he and opening partner Shaun Marsh (63) had got their side off to such a promising start.

"I feel there has been a trend as well in the last 12 and maybe 18 months that also follows on to when we were in England and we were playing there," said the left hander.

"It's tough to see as an opening batter sometimes when you get off to those starts as a top four and then you sort of fall away that easily.

"It's quite hard to take that when you're in the change rooms. I can't really remember, unless we go back to Hobart last year, where we really capitalised in that middle period. That's something we've really got to work hard on, and at the moment I don't really have the answers.

"But we have to really knuckle down as a batting unit and try to build partnerships.

"We always talk about someone going on to get a big hundred in the top four, but it's on everyone else in the middle as well to put their hand up and accept some responsibility to move forward as well and create that partnership."

The Proteas will start the third day in Perth on top after a remarkable fightback, but Warner is confident Australia can still come out on top in the opening game of a three-match series.

"We've seen here before once it's a great batting surface as it is. If you get yourself in, make the most of it and capitalise I think anything's chase-able," Warner said.

"They need to bat for two days if they can with two frontline bowlers, so we have to come out and bowl well. We're going to have to work really hard in that first session.

"They've still got two very, very good fast bowlers, and we've seen the wickets they're capable of with the ball going both ways. We have to respect that. We can't look too far forward.

"We've got to bowl well first tomorrow, then we've got to know that you get through that first period with the new ball they can only revert back to spin. We've got to really knuckle down and apply that pressure on their two frontline bowlers."