Under-siege captain Faf du Plessis only managed a short innings against the pink ball as South Africa maximised their preparations for next week's third Commonwealth Bank Test.
The tourists drew with a Victoria XI in Saturday's day-night game at the MCG, scoring 4-205 from 50 overs.
Victoria was earlier bowled out for 258 off 45.2 overs, with the game - shortened from a two-day match - played under first-class rather than one-day rules.
Next week will be South Africa's first day-night Test and their only priority was time in the middle under lights to adapt to match conditions with the pink ball.
But left-arm chinaman spinner Tabraiz Shamsi boosted his chances of a Test debut by snaring 4-72 from 12 overs.
As du Plessis awaits an ICC hearing for alleged ball tampering for the use of a mint while shining the ball, he faced 18 deliveries for his 12.
Then the ball was changed and with the next delivery, paceman Jackson Coleman had him caught at midwicket off a pull shot.
South African players have rallied around their captain over the ball-tampering controversy, with injured paceman Dale Steyn and teammate Kagiso Rabada expressing their anger on social media.
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A date is yet to be set for du Plessis' hearing but if it is held before Thursday and he is found guilty, he could be suspended for the third Test.
Another problem for the all-conquering South Africans remains opener Stephen Cook, whose run of outs continues.
He made only 11 before Coleman trapped him lbw.
But Shamsi said the tourists had adapted well to the pink ball and were happy ahead of Adelaide.
"Some people say there are difficulties seeing it, but I think the guys have done enough practice with it, just to pick it up," Shamsi said.
"So it's not too bad. We've had enough practice with it and we're happy to move forward."
Hashim Amla, who strongly defended his captain on Friday at a media conference, top-scored for the tourists with 81no. Opener Dean Elgar retired on 40.
Earlier, a trio of young Victorians stood tall against South Africa’s potent pace battery in their day-night fixture at the MCG.
Seb Gotch (53), Matt Short (52) and wicketkeeper Sam Harper (41) – all aged 23 and under –produced fighting hands to blunt the Proteas after fiery paceman Kagiso Rabada reduced the home team to 3-47 in Saturday's tour match.
Allrounder Evan Gulbis, batting at No.8, then took advantage of his teammates fruitful labour to slam a 53 from 28 balls as the Victorian XI posted a competitive 258 in 45.2 overs.
Rabada’s four-over spell garnered 3-37 as he continued the form which has seen him collect 12 wickets from two Tests against Australia this summer and helped him gain the man of the match in the Proteas’ first Test victory in Perth.
With the MCG bathed in sunshine, it took Rabada just five balls to break through when he lured Quiney (9) into a false drive that was pouched by South Africa wicketkeeper Dane Vilas.
Skipper Finch and Ian Holland (11) put together a 33-run stand for the second wicket before the latter was caught behind off Rabada’s bowling.
Finch had threatened to get going and hit 17 from 19 balls, including three fours, before Rabada had him caught by Hashim Amla at first slip.
The aggressive Finch hit Rabada for two boundaries – one a straight drive and the other a lofted drive past mid-off – in the sixth over, but the young paceman had the final say.
While Rabada grabbed the spoils, Kyle Abbott – man of the match in the second Test in Hobart – was frugal at the other end, with his five overs costing just 12 runs.
But the arrival of Short stalled South Africa’s momentum.
The all-rounder smacked seven fours and a six during his 52-ball innings and combined with Gotch for a 79-run stand.
Short’s impressive knock came to an end when he was bowled by left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj, leaving the home team 4-126.
Gotch and Harper, who play together at Victorian Premier Cricket club Melbourne, then produced an entertaining 59-run stand.
Harper’s stay lasted just 36 balls, highlighted by five boundaries and a six, but his hard-running with Gotch was a feature.
His innings ended when he was bowled by left-arm spinner Tabraiz Shamsi.
Blake Thomson (4) was also knocked over by Shamsi moments later.
And when Gotch departed after an 80-ball stay which included six fours, the Victorian XI had slipped to 7-196.
Gulbis, recently elevated to a state-level contract after playing four games during the Matador Cup in October, then took over before he was caught by Amla at fine leg off the bowling of JP Duminy.
Jake Reed (2) and Sam Grimwade (0) fell cheaply, while Jackson Coleman was six not out.
Victorian Sam Grimwade hurt his left shoulder in a dive while fielding and will undergo scans, while fast bowler Jake Reed picked up a muscle injury and left the field.
Victorian XI: Aaron Finch (c), Jackson Coleman, Seb Gotch, Sam Grimwade, Evan Gulbis, Sam Harper (wk), John Hastings, Ian Holland, Rob Quiney, Jake Reed, Matt Short, Blake Thomson
South Africa: Faf du Plessis (c), Kyle Abbott, Hashim Amla, Temba Bavuma, Stephen Cook, JP Duminy, Dean Elgar, Quinton de Kock, Keshav Maharaj, Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada, Rilee Rossouw, Tabraiz Shamsi, Dane Vilas (wk)
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