Sydney: South Africa still requres 314 runs to win the third and final cricket Test in Sydney and snatch the home team"s No. 1 ranking.
Proteas have fought on bravely to reach 1-62 at stumps on the penultimated day of the Sydney Test.
Neil McKenzie was batting on 25 with unbeaten Hasim Amla (30) at close of play on Tuesday.
Ponting had earlier declared Australia's second innings at 4 for 257 after tea setting South Africa 376 to win. Mike Hussey was unbeaten on 45, and Australia had approximately 26 overs to chip away.
Doug Bollinger delivered Australia an early breakthrough, dismissing the makeshift opener Morne Morkel for 0 to claim his first wicket, but since then Amla and McKenzie have bothered Australia.
Australia skipper Ricky Ponting and opener Simon Katich earlier hit half-centuries to lift their team to 257-4 declared in its second innings, an overall lead of 375. The highest fourth-innings total to win a Test in Sydney was Australia"s 288-2 against South Africa three years ago.
Only five wickets have fallen on day four despite the large cracks in the pitch. Australia resumed on 0-33 and declared at 4-257, 50 minutes after tea.
Forced to find a replacement after skipper Graeme Smith fractured his left hand in South Africa's first innings, the Proteas sent No.8 batsman Morne Morkel to open with McKenzie.
Morkel made a second-ball duck, caught at mid-on as debutant Doug Bollinger claimed his first Test wicket before his adoring home crowd of 19,061 fans.
Australia trail 2-0 in the three-match series and need a victory in the dead-rubber match to avoid a whitewash and maintain top ranking in the Test championship.
South Africa must post the sixth-highest successful fourth-innings run chase in Test history to win. The highest successful fourth-innings effort at the SCG is Australia's 2-288 against the Proteas three years ago.