It took less than a session for South Africa to capture the seven wickets they needed on Tuesday to seal a 492-run win and claim a historic Test series victory over a broken Australian side in Johannesburg.
Vernon Philander destroyed the tourists, picking up 6-12 on the morning of day five (including a spell of 6-3 in 32 balls) to deliver the Proteas a 3-1 series win, their first series triumph against Australia on home soil since 1970.
The margin of victory is South Africa’s largest ever in terms of runs, while it’s Australia’s second-worst defeat of all time and heaviest since the 675-run loss to England in 1928 in Brisbane.
For a tour that started off so well, with a tour-match victory in Benoni and a comprehensive win in the first Test at Kingsmead, Australia will return home at rock bottom.
Captain Steve Smith, vice-captain David Warner and rookie opener Cameron Bancroft were banned for their involvement in the Cape Town ball-tampering scandal that will see Cricket Australia conduct a review of the culture of the men’s national team.
Head coach Darren Lehmann, after watching the heartbreaking press conferences of Smith and Bancroft last week, has already decided he can no longer continue in the pivotal role and today signals the end of his time in charge.
No Australian batsman posted a century in the series, the first time that's happened since 1970, coincidentally the last time the Proteas beat Australia in South Africa.
The defeat also sees Australia slip to fourth in the ICC Test rankings behind New Zealand, who batted out the day in Christchurch on Tuesday to secure a draw and a rare series win over England.
Australia have now gone more than two years without a series win away from home, having lost in Sri Lanka, India, South Africa and drawn a series in Bangladesh.
Australia’s next Test assignment is against Pakistan in September-October, where they were thrashed four years ago and will be without their two best batsmen in Smith and Warner.
Outgoing coach Lehmann said before play it is now time for the Australian team to rebuild after the devastating six-week tour.
"For us, it’s about this group moving forward," Lehmann told cricket.com.au.
"The challenge for us is to get a group of players – and the new coach going forward – playing some good cricket that everyone can be proud of.
"It’s disappointing to lose the series, but we’ve been totally outplayed, it’s as simple as that."
Australia needed to bat out 91 overs to salvage the Test on the final day, a task that became near impossible when Philander removed Shaun and Mitchell Marsh (0) within the first four deliveries of the day.
Shaun was caught by Temba Bavuma at gully for seven via an inside edge off his pad from the first ball of the day before Philander found the outside edge of Mitchell's bat, which carried to gloveman Quinton de Kock.
The second wicket was Philander’s 200th in Tests, and the probing right-armer soon had his 50th against Australia when Peter Handscomb (24) dragged on in a carbon copy of his first-innings dismissal.
Tim Paine (seven) became Philander’s fourth wicket of the morning when he nicked a rising ball through to de Kock, before the veteran seamer collected his fifth in his following over as Pat Cummins (one) was castled shouldering arms.
Chadd Sayers became victim number six for Philander when he was caught by Dean Elgar at third slip from his first delivery before Josh Hazlewood, Australia’s No.11, calmly negotiated the hat-trick ball.
Philander had snared 6-3 in 32 balls, and with the match rushing to a close, Faf du Plessis brought on retiring quick Morne Morkel for a fairytale finish.
While Morkel didn’t take the final wicket, the towering quick was bowling when Nathan Lyon was run out for nine to end the match less than 90 minutes into another sad day for Australian cricket.
Vernon Philander's Timeline of Terror
30.1. Shaun Marsh (7): caught Bavuma, bowled Philander. 4-88.
Philander strikes with the first ball of the day. Shaun Marsh plays forward to one that jags back into the left-hander, inside edges onto his pad and is caught by Temba Bavuma at gully.
30.4. Mitchell Marsh (0): caught de Kock, bowled Philander. 5-88.
Marsh follows his big brother back to the pavilion and Australia are in disarray. A small edge through to Quinton de Kock hands Philander his 200th Test wicket.
34.4. Peter Handscomb (24): bowled Philander. 6-95.
Having played back to the two previous deliveries, Handscomb tentatively pushes forward toward a fuller-pitched delivery, only to opt to let it go at the last second. It's too late; ball catches bat and deflects onto his stumps to give Philander his third.
38.5. Tim Paine (7): caught de Kock, bowled Philander. 7-99
Paine is tempted to come forward to one outside off as Philander continues hitting a consistent line, and the Australia captain edges through to the 'keeper.
40.1. Pat Cummins (1): bowled Philander. 8-100
Cummins misjudges a straight delivery from the now rampant Philander, shouldering arms only to see the ball crash into his off stump. The Proteas quick has five inside an hour.
40.2. Chadd Sayers (0): caught Elgar, bowled Philander. 9-100
Make that six. Fuller, wider, swinging away, Sayers slashes and edges away to third slip. Philander has figures of 6-3 for the morning in a truly incredible spell.