Australia may need to pull off an unlikely miracle to win
AUSTRALIA will have to produce an unlikely world record fourth innings run chase if it is to win the third Test against South Africa at the WACA and claim the top ranking in the world.
South Africa was bowled out for 569 late on day three, setting Australia a mammoth 632 for victory.
At the time of going to press openers David Warner and Ed Cowan had taken the home side to 20 for no wicket in reply.
Once again Hashim Amla led from the front for the Proteas, this time with a sparkling knock of 196 and he was only denied a brilliant double hundred by another brilliant catch off his own bowling from Mitchell Johnson.
Amla and AB de Villiers did most of the damage as the South Africans piled on the runs after lunch at the WACA.
The two put on 149 for the fourth wicket before Amla was dismissed but not before he joined Michael Clarke and England skipper Alastair Cook in passing 1000 runs for the calendar year.
Amla had also added 79 with Jacques Kallis (37) before he was caught hooking off Mitchell Starc in the deep by Johnson.
De Villiers was in prime form for the first time this summer, driving and cutting to his first hundred of the series.
He also took to Nathan Lyon, notching up his ton with three consecutive reverse sweeps against the off-spinner.
De Villiers was eventually dismissed for 169 caught by Matthew Wade again off the bowling of Starc.
South Africa's lead had passed 418 early in the second session at the WACA, the previous best run chase in a fourth innings which the West Indies chased down against Australia in Antigua in 2003.
The Australians had the South Africans under pressure for a short period approaching tea after the dismissal of Amla when Dean Elgar became the 38th player of all-time and the 10th South African to make a pair on his Test debut.
Elgar had survived a big appeal for caught behind from the Australians two balls earlier before being struck in front by Mitchell Johnson.
Umpire Richard Kettleborough's decision was upheld after Elgar elected to review on the DRS.
Australia's bowling attack was stretched in the afternoon session as they were forced to call on part timers Mike Hussey and Ricky Ponting.
The WACA crowd came to life when Ponting (0-3) was handed the ball although he only bowled the one over.
But Starc and Johnson carried on manfully with Starc finishing with figures of 6-154, with Johnson taking 4-110.