A lead that had been 401 accreted to 612, the home side finally declaring on 6 for 344.
Australia said their goodbyes to coach Darren Lehmann, who has been a popular figure in the dressing room since his appointment in 2013.
It was all tied - aside from the series, even the offenders were equal from either side - until Australia gained an advantage in the wrong department at Cape Town before South Africa did the same in the right one.
Philander ripped through the Australian batting attack with six wickets in only a handful of overs which saw the Aussies crumble to 7/31 in the opening session. "As players you do have competitive nature with each other, I played with him at Delhi past year and it was nice to share information".
South Africa sealed the series by crushing Australia by 492 runs in the fourth and final test on Tuesday, a dire end for Australia to its most traumatic cricket tour in recent memory.
"We're disappointed with the way we handled it", Paine said. When you're slightly off against a world-class opposition, you're going to be found wanting, and we were. "He only deserves the best". "Nice guys come second". He is a really special guy on and off the field. "Whoever comes in next will have big boots to fill". Outstanding career for Morne, fitting finale for him.
Morkel himself was typically shy. "To be part of that and create a team culture and identity with Graeme Smith as our leader and with Gary (Kirsten), that for me was very special".
"I would just like to say thank you so much". A lot of us have got to step up and take the slack.
Australia were in tatters at 95/6, and it didn't get any better. However, he wasn't going to let that affect his last outing. There was not one day did I not enjoy coming to nets.
"Those are the sort of things I'm going to miss a lot". The fifty came up in 199 balls, a strike rate of a shave over 25%, but of those 180 were dot balls.
"It's tough to put it into words". "I'm grateful for all opportunities I've been given". But you are only ever one knock from being back in form, that's the amusing thing about professional cricket. "When he is playing well and the rest of our batting unit is playing well, I am smiling", Elgar said.
"It was new for a lot of guys, who could see just how draining Test cricket is". "It's been an unbelievable journey".
"We have potentially had our heads in the sand over the last 12 months that if we continue to win we can act and behave how we like and the Australian public will be OK with that".
All in all, it made for a fitting end to a great series. Du Plessis said he had never known his team to be as motivated as they were after a bad-tempered first Test in Durban. "Our bowling unit was exceptional".
A review showed Lyon to be short as De Kock removed the bails, a woeful ending that summed up Australia's day, Test and series. It's a proud captain standing here.
He has, after all, seen more balls than anyone else in this series, so if anyone should have more runs, it is him.
Australia captain, TIM PAINE: "It's been a really challenging week". "You can't doubt our effort". That's something we've to address, we obviously lost two of the best players in the world. Bancroft has been our leading run-scorer for Australia. Some players of Australia were charged to ball tampering.
The South Africa captain conceded that he also needed to manage his fast bowlers, some of whom were carrying knocks, including the mighty Philander who was struggling with a groin injury. We've just got to be able to harness it properly. They've always been competitive, they're a good nation to play against.
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