Australia's success in negating South Africa talisman Graeme Smith was a critical factor in the home team ending the first Test with the greater momentum but captain Michael Clarke has warned his men to ramp up their pressure if they are to secure the series.
Fiery pace spearhead James Pattinson claimed the Proteas opener cheaply in both innings at the Gabba with the second dismissal coming after a heated verbal blast at Smith.
Pattinson then pointed Smith towards the change rooms after forcing an edge to gully as the culmination of a ferocious spell on the moribund surface.
"There was a lot of noise but I couldn't make out what was said," Smith said after the match ended in a draw with his team 51 runs ahead at 5-166.
He had earnt Pattinson's wrath for withdrawing from the crease as a small bird flew across the pitch.
Smith's departure left South Africa vulnerable but a steadying stand between first-innings centurions Hashim Amla and Jacques Kallis, followed by a patient two-hour vigil from AB de Villiers, allowed South Africa to salvage a draw after being under pressure for the second half of the match.
Clarke's decision to bat for 17 overs into the morning, building a lead of 115, was vindicated by South Africa having to defend for much of the five hours they batted on the last day.
Clarke, who moved to 259 not out - his third score beyond 200 this year - and an even century from Mike Hussey enabled Australia to close their innings at 5-565.
The Australian skipper later praised Pattinson's rapid development but identified Smith as the opposition danger man who could still influence the series.
"To get South Africa's top order out on two occasions is a real positive for us," Clarke said.
"We need to get 20 wickets and Graeme is two of them.
"It is nice he made no runs in this Test match because he is a huge player for them.
"When South Africa has success, he generally plays a big part so the least amount of runs we can give Graeme throughout the whole series the better chance we have of success."
Clarke said Pattinson had stood up well after playing just six Tests in his brief career but recognised that all his bowlers would be tested by the quality of South Africa's top order.
The young Victorian forced a tired waft from opener Alviro Petersen early in the innings but later cost himself another wicket when he bowled Amla off a no-ball.
It was the fourth dismissal negated by the bowler overstepping with Morne Morkel infringing twice for the Proteas. Peter Siddle finally had a success when Amla chipped a slower ball to cover.
The day morphed into a series of smaller battles that could have larger or smaller ramifications as the series and summer progresses.
South Africa targeted off-spinner Nathan Lyon as the weak link in the Australian attack and a reminder of what he might expect in Adelaide though he had the consolation of two late wickets to match his brace in the first innings.
Kallis and Amla thrashed 26 from his first two overs but the spinner later had Kallis superbly caught one-handed at slip by Clarke.