And coach Russell Domingo says it’s all down to a recommitment to putting the country first.
After being bowled out for 242 on the first day in Perth and seeing the Aussies race to 158 without loss in the first innings, the Proteas kicked into gear, going on to win by a massive 177 runs.
Without injured spearhead Dale Steyn (and batting superstar AB de Villiers), rising stars Kagiso Rabada, Temba Radaba and Keshav Maharaj showed what playing for the country means.
And Domingo says the players have rediscovered the pride in the Protea on their hearts.
The coach says: “I am going to get abused for saying it again, but there’s so much cricket being played and when you do things like go to a tour to West Indies, and guys are arriving a day before you play, the intensity will never be what it needs to be.
“As a group, we’ve made a collective decision that our main focus and our main decision is playing for our country and giving everything when we play for our country.
“At times, with the amount of cricket you can play, it can be seen to be playing another game, and it is not [just] another game when you play for your country. That is something the team, the coaches, the management, might all have been a little bit guilty of.
“Every single time you play for your country or you are involved in a national game, that space has got to be honoured and respected.
“Maybe that’s the mental shift we have made.
“Maybe in the past, with the number of games being played and the number of tournaments and events – IPLs, Big Bashes, CPLs – maybe the focus wasn’t where it needed to be.”