Cape Town - Heinrich Klaasen steered the Proteas to victory with an unbeaten century in the first ODI against Australia at Boland Park in Paarl on Saturday.
The Proteas took a 1-0 lead in the three-match ODI series with a 74-run victory.
Proteas skipper Quinton de Kock won the toss and elected to bat first on a hot and smoky day in Paarl.
South Africa were in early trouble as debutant Janneman Malan was trapped for LBW on the first ball of the match by Mitchell Starc.
Malan became the second batsman ever to make a golden duck on his debut - the first being Kieran Pollard in 2009.
The Proteas were in trouble early in their innings as they sat on 48 for 3 after losing De Kock (15) and Temba Bavuma (26).
Debutant Kyle Verreynne had a promising start to his international career as he scored 48 off 64 balls before getting caught off Pat Cummins.
It was Klaasen and David Miller, who took on the Australian attack, which subsequently saw the duo share a 149-run fifth-wicket partnership.
Miller eventually fell to Cummins but not before he added 64 to the scoreboard.
Klaasen smashed his maiden ODI century as he scored 123* off 114 balls (7 fours and 3 sixes) and took the Proteas to 291/7.
In Australia's reply, openers David Warner (25) and Aaron Finch (10) couldn't capitalise on their T20 dominance as Lungi Ngidi sent them both packing.
A third-wicket partnership of 84 between SA-born Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith saw the tourists recover from their shaky start.
Spinner Keshav Maharaj saw the end of Labuschagne for 41, while Ngidi took Mitchell Marsh's (16) wicket out of the ground.
Fast bowler Anrich Nortje also got in the action to pick up the all-important wicket of Smith, who made 76 off 94.
Tabraiz Shamsi saw the end of wicketkeeper Alex Carey for 5 and D'Arcy Short for 18.
A silly run-out sent Starc back to the change room for 5, while Andile Phehlukwayo put the nail in the coffin when he sent Pat Cummins back for 6.
Nortje took the final wicket of the match as the Proteas dismissed Australia for 217 in 45.1 overs.
The second ODI is scheduled to get underway on Wednesday in Bloemfontein (13:00).
Scores in brief:
South Africa 291/7 (Klaasen 123*, Cummins 3/45)
Australia 217 in 45.1 overs (Smith 76, Ngidi 3/30)
Result: South Africa win by 74 runs