Cape Town – One more victory for a 3-0 clean sweep of the Test series in Australia would ensure a truly ground-breaking achievement by the Proteas.
Triumphant captain Faf du Plessis wondered out loud in his immediate post-match television interview, following completion of the second-Test rout of the Baggy Greens in Hobart on Tuesday for an early series win, whether the Aussies had ever been beaten in every Test of a home series.
The answer is: certainly not in a series comprising three Tests or more.
In a vastly different era, Australia were beaten 2-0 by England in a two-Test series Down Under in 1886/87, but they have not suffered the same indignity in any subsequent series of two or more games at home.
England did come very close to clean sweeps in the respective, five-Test Ashes series in Australia of 1911/12, 1928/29 and 1932/33, winning 4-1 each time.
So the Proteas cleaning up 3-0, if they can manage it by claiming the pink-ball Test in Adelaide from November 24-28, would certainly amount to a rewriting of statistical history – and a painful one, if you are Aussie-inclined.
Steve Smith’s charges look sufficiently at sixes and sevens right now, especially on the woeful batting front, to be deemed underdogs against the contrastingly smooth-firing South Africa for the final Test, even if they will sport the slight advantage of prior experience of a floodlit Test.
By at least not losing in Adelaide, the current Proteas would ensure their most convincing of the three successive series wins on Aussie soil – when Graeme Smith engineered the triumphs of 2008/09 and 2012/13, they were by 2-1 and 1-0 margins respectively.
Only a golden-era West Indies team (1984/85, 1988/89 and 1992/93) has ever previously beaten Australia three times in a row on their soil; the margins were 3-1, 3-1 and 2-1, all in five-Test series.
South Africa have played eight prior Tests at Adelaide Oval, winning two, drawing three and losing three.
Australia have not lost in that city in their last five Tests there, including four victories.
*Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing