Five hard-earned wins down under
Since readmission in 1992, South Africa have had to fight for all their five Test wins in Australia, and Perth 2016 was the toughest of them all. ESPNcricinfo leads you down the path of most resistance
After conceding a first-innings lead of 123, South Africa set Australia a target of just 117 in the New Year's Test in 1994. Fanie de Villiers took four wickets on the fourth afternoon to leave Australia 4 for 63 overnight but it was only when Allan Donald removed Allan Border with the second ball of the fifth morning that South Africa thought they had a chance. Craig McDermott pulled Australia one way while Donald and de Villiers tugged them the other and in a tense finish, South Africa won by five runs.
It was 14 years before South Africa won again in Australia and they did it by pulling off the highest chase down under, at the WACA in 2008. Australia secured a first-innings lead of 94 and then set South Africa a target of 414; only three times had a team chased more than 400 to win a Test. They lost Neil McKenzie in the 15th over but a century from Graeme Smith set up the pursuit. Fifties from Hashim Amla and Jacques Kallis meant that by the time debutant JP Duminy joined AB de Villiers, South Africa only needed 111 runs. De Villiers' hundred and Duminy's fifty took them over the line.
Australia's response to South Africa chasing 414 was to pile on 394 in the second Test at the MCG, where Ricky Ponting scored a hundred. South Africa were 7 for 184 in reply when Duminy combined with the tail to take them into the lead. Duminy's career-best 166 was helped by a stubborn 76 from Dale Steyn, who then made the 65-run advantage really count with 5 for 67 in the second innings to go with 5 for 87 in the first. South Africa achieved the target of 183 in the second session of the final day to win the series.
The blockathon at the Adelaide Oval in 2012 meant Australia had to change their attack for the next Test in Perth, and with new faces came fresh venom. South Africa relied on a rookie Faf du Plessis, unbeaten on 78 at no. 7, to take the score to 225 in the first innings. Led by Steyn, the South African attack surged back. They bowled Australia out for 163 early on the second day, which gave their batsmen the best conditions to make amends. A stirring partnership from Smith and Amla - 178 in 25.3 overs at a run rate of 6.98 - topped up by 169 off 184 balls from de Villiers formed the pillars of South Africa's 569. Australia had to chase 632 and were bowled out for 322 to give South Africa a second successive series win down under.
A new-look South African batting line-up, missing its superstar AB de Villiers, was blown away by pace and bounce on a fast WACA surface in the first Test of the 2016 tour. The middle order rallied to post 242, but David Warner made that look woefully inadequate. Australia were 105 without loss overnight and had reached 158 by the time they lost their first wicket. Steyn had Warner caught at slip, but in the next over he left the field with a broken shoulder. South Africa had to rely on their two others quicks, Vernon Philander and Kagiso Rabada, and new specialist spinner Keshav Maharaj to bowl Australia out, twice. They combined to cause a collapse of 10 for 86, before Duminy celebrated a return to the ground with a century and Dean Elgar made 127 to set Australia a target of 539. South Africa's depleted attack had to toil for 119.1 overs before victory was achieved in the final session of the match.
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent