South Africa star AB de Villiers returned from injury with a warning for Australia: this is a far better and more indomitable side than that which surrendered in 2009.
De Villiers underwent hand surgery and was sidelined for the whole of January, raising fears he would not be ready for the start of the three-Test series on Wednesday in Centurion.
He was initially rested from the Proteas' warm-up match against a Composite XI at the Wanderers, but on the final day made a surprise appearance and belted 40 off 65 balls.
It wasn't the only source of reassurance on Thursday for Russell Domingo, who pulled stumps shortly before the tea break he was so content.
JP Duminy (wrist tendonitis) was cleared of serious injury, while Faf du Plessis retired after a masterful 102.
Vernon Philander (3-8) and Morne Morkel (3-6) were dominant, while Dale Steyn sent down four overs.
De Villiers continued his fluent approach after stumps when asked about South Africa's poor record at home against Australia.
"We've really peaked in the past two years. They beat us here 2-1 (in 2009) ... we're (now) a different team," de Villiers said in Johannesburg.
"I'm not going to say that we can't lose. I'm not saying we're invincible or anything like that.
"But I feel we're playing better cricket than ever now, and we're confident as a team."
The Proteas' most recent Test series loss came in March 2009, when Australia blooded four debutants - including current squad member Phillip Hughes - and grabbed wins in Johannesburg and Durban.
It only slowed South Africa's climb to No.1 in the ICC's Test rankings, which they completed in August that year.
They held the No.1 mantle for four months, snatched it back in August 2012 and have never let go since.
"The second time we got to the No.1 ranking recently, we felt like 'You know what, we're playing great cricket, now it's up to us to dominate for 5-10 years'," de Villiers said.
He took a light-hearted dig at Michael Clarke, who last month told reporters he didn't watch one ball of South Africa's recent series win over India.
"I'm actually doing what Michael Clarke's been doing - 'Oh, did South Africa beat India!?Really?'," the 29-year-old said, after suggesting cricket wasn't high on his agenda while recovering from surgery.
"Let me rephrase. I've been following a bit here and there, but I didn't watch a lot of cricket.
"Obviously they (Australia) have had a wonderful series there, but I've played against all of them before so there's no need to watch too many videos."