The Proteas beat Australia by 6 wickets in Port Elizabeth on Monday in what was the spiciest of Test matches.
It means that series is locked at 1-1 with two Tests to play, and the Proteas have Kagiso Rabada’s match figures of 11/150 to thank for getting them back into the series.
Rabada, who could miss the rest of the series through suspension, was the difference in this Test while AB de Villiers’ majestic knock of 126* in the first innings gave the hosts the lead they needed.
Australia had resumed day four on 180/5, just 41 runs ahead of the Proteas.
Rabada, though, didn’t give the visitors a chance to settle as he had Mitchell Marsh (45), Pat Cummins (5) and Mitchell Starc (1) out within the first seven overs of the day.
With Lungi Ngidi and Keshav Maharaj wrapping the innings up, Australia were dismissed for 239 as they set the Proteas 101 for victory.
The result was never in any real doubt, though Australia were given a sniff when openers Dean Elgar (5) and Aiden Markram (21) departed to leave the hosts at 32/2.
Hashim Amla was out for 27 to leave SA on 81/3, and there would have been a few concerns in the home changeroom when De Villiers (28) was out to Nathan Lyon.
All of a sudden, it was 81/4 and South Africa still needed 20.
Skipper Faf du Plessis (2*) and Theunis de Bruyn (15*) saw South Africa home.
The third Test begins in Cape Town on Thursday, March 22.
Scores in brief:
Australia 243 (Warner 63, Rabada 5/96, Ngidi 3/51) and 239 (Khawaja 75, Rabada 6/54)
SA 382 (De Villiers 126*, Elgar 57, Amla 56, Cummins 3/79) and 102/6
SA won by 6 wickets — Sport 24