Durban:Jacques Kallis and AB de Villiers shared an unbeaten 164-run partnership and gave South Africa a chance of saving the second Test on the fourth day at Kingsmead here on Monday.
Kallis, who was dropped off the first ball he faced, made 83 not out and De Villiers 67 not out as South Africa reached 244 for two at the close of play.
They had been set to make 546 to win.
Fast bowler Peter Siddle made a double breakthrough as Australia pushed for a series-clinching win but the rest of the bowlers toiled without success.
Siddle dismissed opening batsmen Neil McKenzie and Hashim Amla during a hostile post-lunch spell. He finished the day with two for 39.
The hosts' realistic objective was to survive a potential 170 overs to prevent Australia from taking a winning 2-0 lead in the three-match series.
McKenzie and Amla put on 63 and defied the Australian bowlers until the 23rd over when McKenzie pushed at a lifting delivery just outside his off stump and edged a catch to wicketkeeper Brad Haddin.
New batsman Jacques Kallis was dropped first ball off a similar delivery from Siddle, edging a chance to a diving Marcus North at first slip.
Siddle struck again half an hour later when Amla edged a drive to Australian captain Ricky Ponting at second slip.
Kallis took advantage of his let-off and showed his best form of the summer as he batted for 224 minutes, facing 161 balls and hitting 11 fours.
De Villiers faced 166 deliveries and hit seven boundaries on a pitch which played easily apart from occasional uneven bounce.
Amla opened with McKenzie in the absence of injured captain Graeme Smith, who suffered a broken bone in his right hand while batting on Saturday.
Australia batted for 35 minutes at the start of play, adding 39 runs in 7.4 overs.
Opening batsman Phil Hughes went from 136 to 160 with audacious stroke play before he slashed a catch to third man off Makhaya Ntini.
Australian captain Ricky Ponting declared when new batsman North fell without scoring, edging Dale Steyn to third slip.