Cape Town - With their backs to the wall at 71 for four, and three sessions left to salvage a draw and the series, Proteas coach Russell Domingo believes there is still hope.
As it happened: SA v Oz Day 4
"We always want to win, but right now we'll take a draw and run," said Domingo after the close of play on day four of the third Test against Australia, at Newlands in Cape Town, on Tuesday.
"We've managed to get ourselves out of holes like this before."
Australia set South Africa 511 to win in the second innings, and a draw would be the best result for the Proteas.
With AB de Villiers unbeaten on 16 from 100 balls, Faf du Plessis and JP Duminy to come, Domingo was optimistic.
"I think there is still hope. We're hoping AB can score the slowest 40 in the history of the game.
"We've still got Faf who's done it before. JP's coming off the back end of a hundred. So there's still some good batting options for us."
David Warner, fresh off a blistering knock of 145 (156 balls, 13 fours, four sixes), said his bowlers would have to be patient to bowl South Africa out.
"We've got to come out tomorrow [Wednesday] and play our best cricket," he said.
"We have to bowl stump to stump. We have to play boring cricket, we know they're not going to go after the runs.
"We're going to have to try and create some chances."
The Proteas lost three wickets in six overs before tea, including Graeme Smith in his final Test innings for three, but resolute defence from Hashim Amla (41 runs, 109 balls, four fours) and De Villiers kept alive the hosts' slim hope of an unlikely draw.
Amla, however, was out with 20 minutes left in the day lbw to James Pattinson.
It ended a 53 run stand from 185 balls between the pair of Amla and De Villiers.
Nighwatchman Kyle Abbott came in and was one unbeaten at the close of play along with De Villiers.
First to fall in the South African innings was Alviro Petersen (9) out plumb lbw to Ryan Harris in the third over.
Mitchell Johnson then accounted for both Smith (3) and Dean Elgar. Smith, clipped the ball to Alex Doolan at short leg as South Africa lost their second wicket with the score on 12. Johnson then clean bowled Elgar for a duck.
Earlier in the session, the visitors declared their second innings on 303 for five, leaving South Africa a day and a half to bat out.
Warner smashed his second century of the game, before he was caught behind off the bowling of Abbott.
Steve Smith (36) and Brad Haddin (3) were at the wicket when the visitors declared.
Abbott took 3/61 dismissing Shane Watson for 25 and skipper Michael Clarke for a first-ball duck.
He also took a catch to dismiss Doolan (37) after lunch off a Morne Morkel delivery.
Earlier, Chris Rogers was run out by Dale Steyn for 39, to end an opening stand of 123 runs with Warner, off just 124 balls.