Hashim Amla and A.B. de Villiers posted big centuries in quick time before South Africa was dismissed for 569 late Sunday, setting Australia an unlikely victory target of 632 in the third cricket test.
David Warner (29) and Ed Cowan (9) survived an hour to steer the Australians to 40 without loss by stumps on day three, cutting the target to 592 with two full days remaining in a test that will decide the No. 1 ranking for 2012.
After 20 wickets tumbled in the first five sessions, the top-ranked South Africa seized control in the second innings with Amla scoring 196 and de Villiers contributing 169.
The record successful fourth-innings chase in a test is West Indies' 418-7 to beat Australia at St. John's in 2003.