With the Proteas is control of the second Test in Hobart, there was a chance to test a new opening batting partnership.
Leading by 86 runs on the start of day three, South Africa were set to resume with Temba Bavuma (38 not out) and Quinton de Kock (28 not out) at the crease on 171/5.
The duo have been spoken about as an opening pair with Stephen Cook struggling for form and the return of AB de Villiers from injury.
Bavuma (38 not out) has shown great temperament, grit and technique to face the new ball, while De Kock’s aggression can give SA’s innings some early momentum.
But with the match having lost the whole of Sunday morning’s second day, skipper Faf du Plessis may have wanted to move the game along and given his bowlers another chance at the Aussies, who they bowled out for 85 on the first day.
Vernon Philander was the main ou for the tourists, taking 5/21 with the new ball as he and Kyle Abbott (3/41) tore the Aussies to pieces.
Philander refused to take the praise following his 10th-career five-for and his most polished performance on Australian soil, which was an indication of a player full of confidence and back to his best after overcoming a traumatic ankle injury this year.
The ace from Ravensmead says: “It was a magnificent all-round performance from everyone.
“Catches need to be taken, there was also a magnificent run-out [Dane Vilas], all those things add up to a collective team effort and allow you to bowl a team out.
“You need those things to go your way, it was a magnificent performance.
“Run-outs and great catches push on that momentum you always look for. We are a side that prides itself on taking those 50-50 chances; whether it be a magnificent catch or a runout. Those dismissals lift the team and the morale.”