Cape Town - The third Test did not go according to plan for the Proteas, but they still emerged with a historic series victory against Australia.
South Africa did the damage in Perth and Hobart before coming unstuck in Adelaide, but by then the damage was done as they had already secured the series win.
One of the most pleasing aspects from a South African point of view was that there were contributions from everywhere, and their success did not hinge on one or two players.
Vernon Philander was named man of the series, but there were performances throughout the squad that provided reason for optimism as the Proteas continue their journey towards rediscovering their global dominance with a three-match series against Sri Lanka in December and January.
Here are the South African series player ratings, out of 10:
Dean Elgar - 6 (161 runs @ 32.2)
His 127 in the second innings in Perth, when he batted so well with JP Duminy, was the shining light in what was an otherwise disappointing series for the left-hander. His highest score outside of that knock was 17, meaning he cashed in once and failed four times. Remains a gritty option for the Proteas at the top of the order, but will want runs at home this summer.
Stephen Cook - 6 (179 runs @ 35.8)
Probably edges Elgar by virtue of the 40 he scored in the first innings in Adelaide. Had endured a horrible series up until the final Test, but his resilient 104 in the second innings over the weekend may very well have saved his Test career. Doesn't look fluent at the crease and struggled all series against the quicks, but he has as much concentration and determination as anyone.
Hashim Amla - 4 (98 runs @ 19.6)
Really disappointing from South Africa's main man. Amla won't forget Josh Hazlewood in a hurry; he was dismissed 5 times by the Aussie seamer in as many innings. The feet weren't moving and Amla was stuck on the crease all too often when dismissed. We prefer the Amla that does his talking out in the middle, and not in bizarre social media posts.
JP Duminy - 6 (184 runs @ 36.8, 1 wicket @ 84)
That knock in Perth was seriously special. But, in all too familiar fashion, Duminy could not show the consistency that fans of his game have been so desperate to see for a long time now. He is so enjoyable to watch when he is playing well. Will likely move further down the order, presuming he keeps his place, to accommodate the return of AB de Villiers.
Faf du Plessis - 9 (206 runs @ 51.5)
Hard to fault the Proteas skipper at all. His century in the first innings in Adelaide was pure class following what had been a horrible week of ball tampering charges and airport scuffles. Du Plessis is a leader, of that there is no doubt, and his batting generally improves when he is in charge too. Was a picture of strength for South Africa throughout the series and is a seriously attractive captaincy option moving forward.
Temba Bavuma - 6 (162 runs @ 32.4, 1 wicket @ 30)
Showed relative consistency with the bat. And, who could forget THAT run out in Perth? Bavuma continues to grow on the international stage and is carving out a nice little niche for himself in the No 6 position. Showed on this tour, against Starc, that he is not troubled by pace and bounce as had been initially feared.
Quinton de Kock - 9 (281 runs @ 52.2, 11 catches)
Was South Africa's leading run scorer in the series and also pouched 11 catches in what was a very good wicketkeeping display throughout. He has become one of the most important players for South Africa across all formats. When De Kock succeeds, it generally means the Proteas do too. You could see how much it hurt South Africa's cause when he missed out in both knocks in Adelaide.
Vernon Philander - 8.5 (12 wickets @ 23.58, 136 runs @ 27.2)
Perhaps a surprising man-of-the-series, but it was his valuable contributions with the bat that perhaps swung it his way. Philander's form and fitness were major concerns going into the series but he squashed any doubts with a fine display of accurate seam bowling. His 5/21 in the first innings in Hobart rolled back the years and reminded us why he has been such a big player in this Test side for so long.
Kagiso Rabada - 8.5 (15 wickets @ 22.4, 24 runs @ 12)
How good is this guy? He finished as South Africa's leading wicket-taker in the series and stepped up in a massive way in the absence of the injured Dale Steyn in Perth. Rabada will surely be key to any success this Test side has in the years to come. He is young, quick, fit and has a good head on his shoulders. All of those qualities were on display in this series.
Kyle Abbott - 9 (13 wickets @ 14.84, 20 runs @ 6.66)
Abbott did only play two Tests in the series, but he was superb. A man-of-the-match display in Hobart (9/118) was instrumental in wrapping up the series, while he was also the pick of the bowlers in the first innings in Adelaide. Has surely done enough to secure an extended run over the Sri Lanka series.
Keshav Maharaj - 6.5 (4 wickets @ 40.5, 58 runs @ 29)
Maharaj missed out in the third Test, but there were encouraging signs in Perth and Hobart. He may have hoped for a few more wickets, but he showed the control and accuracy that the Proteas can rely on moving forward.
Tabraiz Shamsi - 4.5 (2 wickets @ 75 and 18 runs @ n/a)
It was a tough old debut for the wrist spinner. Got the ball to do a bit, but struggled under the lights. Will hopefully thrive on more spin-friendly surfaces.
Dale Steyn - N/A (1 wicket @ 51, 4 runs @ 4)
Wouldn't be fair to rate the speedster following his injury in the first innings in Perth. It was his wicket of David Warner, however, that got the ball rolling for the Proteas in the match and ultimately the series.