By Nick Said
CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - David Warner thumped a run-a-ball century as Australia dominated the opening day of the third and final test against South Africa, piling up 331 for three at Newlands on Saturday.
Warner's 135 punished a wilting South Africa attack that lost Dale Steyn after lunch when the world's top test bowler limped off complaining of pain in his right hamstring.
He will be assessed on Sunday to see if he can continue bowling in the innings.
Captain Michael Clarke (92 not out) and Steve Smith (50 not out) put on 114 for the fourth wicket and will resume on the second morning as they seek to bat the home team out of the match.
"I thought David set the tone first up, he puts pressure on the opposition by how fast he scores," Australian team consultant Shane Warne told reporters.
"It was good bowling from South Africa but we matched their intensity with the ball."
Warner, who raised the ire of South Africans after the second test in Port Elizabeth by suggesting they had tampered with the ball, smashed 12 fours and a six in his 152-ball stay at the crease.
He recorded his seventh ton before falling to a catch behind by wicketkeeper AB de Villiers off spinner JP Duminy.
Paceman Steyn had picked up the first wicket, having opener Chris Rogers (25) caught at second slip by skipper Graeme Smith.
Alex Doolan then made a patient 20 off 66 deliveries before losing his cool as he tried to pull Vernon Philander, spooning a catch to Steyn at mid-on.
Only Morne Morkel with his steep bounce troubled the Australian batsmen, especially Clarke.
Morkel peppered him all over the body during a spell of ferocious fast bowling.
"Michael was hit in the ear, jaw, head, arm and fingers," said Warne. "He showed a lot of courage."
South Africa bowling coach Allan Donald praised Morkel's performance.
"Dale will have a little fitness test tomorrow to see if he is ready to bowl," Donald said. "If you lose your top-gun bowler then others have to step up.
"Morne was outstanding, that kind of spell is worth two or three wickets. Warner played really well although I was a little bit disappointed with the way we started this morning.
"We were too full and were driven a lot. We have the new ball tomorrow and someone has to stand up," added Donald.
The series is level at 1-1.
(Editing by Tony Jimenez)