South Africa's Faf du Plessis and AB de Villiers stonewalled against the Australian bowlers in their bid to deny the home side victory on the final day of the second Test in Adelaide on Monday.
Du Plessis and de Villiers were content to shut up shop in the hope of earning a draw to take the series to a potential decider in Perth.
Australia need to win the three-Test series to take the world number one ranking from South Africa, with the final Test starting on Friday.
At lunch, the Proteas were inching along at 126 for four, with Du Plessis on 49 off 177 balls and de Villiers unbeaten on 31 from 208 balls.
Australia's players celebrate the dismissal of South Africa's batsman Graeme Smith (top L) on the fourth day of the second Test on November 25. Australia need to win the three-Test series to take the world number one ranking from South Africa, with the final Test starting on Friday.
The Proteas, chasing a huge and unlikely target of 430 runs to win the Test, scored just 49 runs off 35 overs in the morning session.
The most successful fourth innings run chase at the Adelaide Oval stands at the 315-6 Australia scored 110 years ago to overhaul England, while the record overall winning chase is 418 by the West Indies against Australia in 2003.
Du Plessis had a big moment on 33 when he padded up and did not offer a shot to Michael Clarke and was given out leg before wicket. But he stayed put after a review found the ball had pitched just outside the line.
Du Plessis was given out again by umpire Billy Bowden after an lbw appeal by Clarke on 37, but another review showed there was no contact with the pad and the debutant batted on.
Clarke crowded five close-in fielders around Du Plessis when he was facing off-spinner Nathan Lyon but it brought no joy for the Australians.
Du Plessis was having a fine maiden Test match for South Africa after scoring 78 in the first innings.