The Proteas stand on the brink of taking the series against Sri Lanka, who battled to 130-4 chasing the impossible target of 507 on day three of the second Test at Newlands.
It was an an inevitable conclusion, having been so thoroughly outplayed.
They did at least show some fight in the 40 overs they delivered to the Proteas on day three, taking seven wickets for 189 in 40 overs. But, having opted not to enforce the follow-on, even with a lead of 282, the numbers were irrelevant for the Proteas. Faf du Plessis declared midway through the afternoon session on 224-7.
The visitors are trying to show some pride with the bat, too, as captain Angelo Mathews and Dinesh Chandimal resolutely denied the Proteas bowling, putting on 71 for the fifth wicket.
But they are on the back foot after Vernon Philander broke through early with a superb delivery which uprooted the leg stump of Dimuth Karunaratne (6) and had then Kusal Mendis (4) caught at slip to leave Sri Lanka at 25-2.
Kaushal Silva and Dhanajaya de Silva put on 41 for the third wicket until Rabada broke that partnership when Silva (29) fended off a rising delivery to Stephen Cook, and in his next over dismissed De Silva lbw for 22 with a full toss.
It was perhaps indicative of the Sri Lankan mindset as De Silva marched off immediately, when a review would have shown the ball to be missing the stumps.
It has all gone to plan for the Proteas. They had intended to bat on and take Sri Lanka out of the game, but they probably weren’t expecting to lose those wickets so easily, and some will be rueing the fact they let the opportunity for a big score slip.
Players got in and got out, but among them Dean Elgar was at least able to pick up his fifth Test fifty in the morning session, moving on from 19 overnight to 55, when he edged a defensive shot to left-arm spinner Rangana Herath to first slip.
He will be annoyed about that, for after his hundred he spoke about kicking on consistently and getting big scores more often. This was the time to do it.
Earlier, the Suranga Lakmal dismissed Stephen Cook, pressing forward rather too solidly to edge to first slip, and then, four balls later, Hashim Amla. In fairness, he got a superb delivery which pitched on off stump and curved away to find the edge.
No one was able to get going JP Duminy went on to 30 before being trapped lbw one ball before lunch. Both Du Plessis and Quinton de Kock looked as though they would cash in, but both fell to catches by Chandimal: Du Plessis (41) got a good ball from Lakmal; De Kock (29) a less threatening delivery from Kumara.
Temba Bavuma (0) had rotten luck, being run out by a direct throw from mid-off. His bat was across the line, but in the air as he dived desperately.
Lakmal ended with 4-69, but apart from personal pride, he showed the Proteas bowlers what is possible on the day-three Newlands wicket.
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