Thirty-three minutes down, five sessions to go.
Australia survived the first eight-over episode of their battle to save the second Test, reaching 0-31 at lunch on day four after South African captain Graeme Smith's declaration.
Hashim Amla finished 127 not out as Smith declared at 5-270 on Sunday, setting the opposition a target of 448 for an unthinkable victory in Port Elizabeth.
The Proteas are fully expected to square the three-Test series, given they skittled Australia for 246 in 57 overs on Saturday.
But if the visitors show more mettle in the second dig and make it to a fifth day, they might receive some assistance.
Wayne Parnell's groin injury means Smith is a bowler down and Robin Peterson's omission leaves him without a frontline spinner, while 64mm of rain is predicted on Monday.
The visitors will be chasing well in excess of the 273 scored by South Africa in 1962, the highest fourth-innings total recorded at St George's Park.
They would also need to set a new world record for a successful fourth-innings Test chase, bettering the 418 that the West Indies chased down in 2003.
Chris Rogers was 21 not out at the meal break, with David Warner on 10.
Warner, who showed much restraint, went within centimetres of being dismissed when a healthy edge fell short of wicketkeeper AB de Villiers in the fourth over.
It was Warner's only boundary and the closest the hosts came to a breakthrough.
Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander were probing, while Morne Morkel had the two openers ducking and weaving with some fine short-pitched bowling.
South Africa famously survived the better part of five sessions to save the Adelaide Oval Test in 2012, when Faf du Plessis was unbeaten after almost eight hours at the crease.
Rogers, starting the series with scores of 4, 1 and 5, arguably puts a higher price on his wicket than any of his teammates and looms as Australia's most likely saviour if they believe in miracles.
South Africa will bowl another 63 overs in day four's remaining two sessions.
Michael Clarke, speaking after stumps on day three, was full of belief his side could win the match.
"I don't think we can worry too much about the weather," he said.
"But if Parnell's not fit to bowl, I think that will have an impact.
"If you've only got three fast bowlers and you're bringing them back for their third and fourth spells, you're giving yourself a chance.
"We didn't do that in the first innings."
The Proteas started Sunday on 4-192, then added 78 runs at roughly a run a minute.