Australia came back with five wickets in the final session to stop South Africa's momentum and hold the home team to 263-7 and a slim lead of 20 runs by stumps on day two of the second test on Saturday.
Kagiso Rabada could miss the remainder of South Africa's Test series against Australia after being charged with a code of conduct breach for his shoulder brush with opposition captain Steve Smith. The match is hosted at Port Elizabeth where Australia won the toss and like the first match they made a decision to bat first.
The fast bowler's actions, which also included a vocal in-your-face celebration, prompted the umpires to have a word with both him and captain Faf du Plessis on the field.
Sutherland said he supported the sanctions and commended match referee Jeff Crowe for his handling of the "difficult situation".
But for now, the Proteas will reflect on a decent day the office in their pursuit of levelling the series.
Australian cricket chief James Sutherland has demanded his players show more respect for their opponents in the wake of incidents that overshadowed the first Test against South Africa in Durban.
Australia's David Warner in action.More news: USC falls to Deandre Ayton, Arizona in Pac-12 Tournament title game
Australia lead the four-Test series 1-0.
And it was Vernon Philander who was first to oblige just four overs after lunch as he nipped out Usman Khawaja for four runs.
South Africa struck again after the break, as Philander prolonged Usman Khawaja's slump in foreign conditions, before recalled paceman Lungi Ngidi bowled the ideal inswinger to disturb Warner's stumps. But he left the gate open and Ngidi was able to penetrate his defence. He first captured the prized wicket of captain Steve Smith, trapped leg before wicket for 25. The 22-year-old then sent Shaun Marsh packing in the same fashion.
Amla successfully reviewed twice before his 88-run stand with Elgar was broken in emphatic fashion by Starc.
Rabada did take the attack to the Australians in the morning session with six fours in his innings, proving an irritation with the bat following his excellent 5-96 with the ball on the first day.
He struck again with that one delivery after tea dismissing Pat Cummins first ball before claiming his fifth victim by bowling Mitchell Starc.
Partnering with the tail Tim Paine ensured it wagged, as the last two wickets added 61 valuable runs to the visitor's total, before Ngidi finished the innings by dislodging Paine's off stump.