Vernon Philander injured as Australia batsmen collapse

HOBART: South Africa paceman Vernon Philander tore through Australia's top order with three wickets before coming off injured as Australia flirted with a record low innings score early on day one of the second test at Bellerive Oval in Hobart on Saturday.

In a dramatic first hour, Philander dismissed opening batsman David Warner for one in his first over and removed Usman Khawaja (4) and Adam Voges (0) in successive deliveries after South Africa captain Faf du Plessis won the toss and sent the home side in to bat on a moist, green-tinged wicket.

Australia were 43 for six at lunch, with captain Steve Smith unbeaten on 20 and debutant paceman Joe Mennie on 10, the home side's hopes of a positive start in tatters.

Australia had been reduced to 8 for four with Voges' wicket, and although debutant Callum Ferguson saw off Philander's hat-trick ball, further drama was to come as Smith crashed into the bowler's back as he ran through for a single.

Philander, who had been appealing for lbw before the contact, slumped to the ground clutching his bowling shoulder and minutes later came off the ground grimacing in pain.

South Africa lost a review for the lbw appeal but Ferguson was run out by a direct hit minutes later from substitute fielder Dane Vilas, who flung the ball in from deep backward point.

That left Australia 17-5, with South Africa's pace attack extracting devilish movement off the moist wicket and in overcast conditions.

Smith and wicketkeeper Neville spared their team the unenviable record for the lowest innings in test cricket, surpassing New Zealand's 26 against England in 1955.

But Neville was soon out for three, trapped lbw by young seamer Kagiso Rabada after Du Plessis asked to review the not-out decision.

Australia limped past their record low score of 36 against England at Edgbaston in 1902 but were still adrift of their lowest score of 58 on home wickets, against England in Brisbane in 1936.

Fast bowler Kyle Abbott, who replaced injured paceman Dale Steyn, took the second wicket of the day in his opening over, trapping recalled opener Joe Burns lbw for one.

Khawaja lasted 25 deliveries for his four runs before being well caught by Hashim Amla in the slips, but Voges was gone for a first-ball duck, snaffled by wicketkeeper Quinton De Kock.

Australia lost the first test of the three-match series by 177 runs in Perth.