Dean Elgar produces sensational catch on day three vs Australia

The Aussies are struggling in Johannesburg. Pic AAP

'Is there any danger of you blokes nicking one?'

Quinton de Kock (four) was trapped lbw by Cummins, who recorded the best test match figures of his career, 9-141. They shared a fourth-wicket partnership of 170, the best for any wicket by either side during the series.

New captain Tim Paine introduced a pre-game handshake between sides, a widely-praised gesture that could become commonplace around the world. He was 5 not out overnight and hit seven fours and two sixes in all to give Australia's first innings a little respectability despite it still being way behind South Africa's. Without spearhead Mitchell Starc, who had underwhelmed in the previous two Tests, there wasn't much inspiration other than Cummins, who claimed nine in the fourth Test and 22 in the series. South Africa need seven more wickets to win the series 3-1.

Paine, who is acting as the Aussie skipper following the demotion of ex-captain Steve Smith, has been the driving force for his nation in this Test series despite his courageous efforts not being represented by the score.

After being diagnosed with the fractured thumb on Saturday, Paine stayed on as wicketkeeper while Australia was in the field and also took his place in the batting lineup.

"There are 11 guys out on the field really proud to be Australian, playing cricket for their country".

Paceman Morkel, still nursing a left side strain he sustained earlier in the test, trapped openers Matt Renshaw and Joe Burns leg before wicket. But it's understood he's going to try everything possible to bowl in the fourth innings.

I've had a brilliant battle with Nathan Lyon and I can't wait for the next one. In trying to charge Rabada he sliced the ball high in the air, allowing Elgar to turn and sprint towards the boundary from his position at mid-off.

Cricket experts and fans were in outrage on Monday night as South Africa built their second innings lead to over 600 runs.

The Proteas opening pair pushed the advantage past 300 and their partnership to 54 before "Postman Pat" delivered again, Cummins extracting an outside edge from Markram's forward prod to the safe hands of Peter Handscomb at second slip.

"It's odd. I've played quite a few Tests against Australia and it's definitely been the most docile Test since I played Test cricket and I'm pretty sure it's not going to last very long", Elgar said.

The final scoring shot of the day - a cut from du Plessis off Josh Hazlewood through cover point - edged the lead past 400 as the players left the ground with a maximum of two days left in the series.

The home side have a fitness worry as seamer Morne Morkel, playing in his final test before retirement from global cricket, was forced from the field with a left side strain, but he did return to the pitch after the interval and will be monitored overnight.

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