"This is one of our sweetest wins", India captain Virat Kohli told reporters. Numerous side's batsmen showed indomitable spirit in responding to Kohli's call to play an extra seamer and bat first on that treacherous surface at the Bull Ring and will wear their bruises from the game as medals with great pride.
Dean Elgar and Hashim Amla were only the positives for the hosts while their pace quartet once again proved that they are too hot to handle if conditions are in their favour.
Kohli added Saturday's win, achieved on the fourth afternoon after South Africa lost their last nine wickets for 53 runs, ranked as one of the finest he had been involved in as a player.
While David Warner leads the country in a Twenty20 tri-series against New Zealand and England, the remaining 13 members of Australia's Test squad will ready themselves to take on arguably the most complete team in the world.
In 1997-98, when Michel Atherton's men were touring West Indies, they had to deal with fearsome Windies pace battery as well as a unsafe pitch with a perilous bounce in the first test at Sabina Park. They left South Africa unhappy with their own groundsmen for providing too much pace and bounce. He proved as much by taking four wickets and scoring 30 and 33 in Johannesburg.
When South Africa were successful in India, Australia and England in 2008, it was with a team that had six frontline batsmen.
AB de Villiers has made a difference in the batting line-up. (As an offspinner) Ashwin should come into play in the fourth or fifth day.
One thing is nearly certain: India would be livid if the match was abandoned too prematurely, considering the manner in which they had gutsed it out themselves at the crease in their second dig.
Kohli scored 41 runs in the second innings of the Test and went past MS Dhoni's tally of 3,454 runs to become the highest run-getter among Indian captains in the whites. He should let go of this "us vs them" mindset. The 60 wickets earned were thus an ultimate validation for their investment. And even if he had only eight wickets to show for his tireless efforts in the second and third Tests, he finished with the best economy for all bowlers - 2.17. Between these four, Kohli had a diverse skill-set pool to choose from for his combination depending on the conditions he expected to encounter. India spinners do this day in and day out, but fast bowlers, waiting patiently and with discipline for that one breakthrough before they can swoop in again?
That was likely true but India still failed to win a big series away from home.
A flat South Africa pitched up for the third game in Johannesburg on a snake-pit that saw balls spitting up off a good length. "But at many moments in the first two games we put them under pressure", added Kohli.
"He is a top-class batsman". But he wasn't that far ahead of people like Rahul Dravid or VVS Laxman. While it worked with the bat on one occasion, Pandya resembled a player who could do with some role definition. "We played like the No. 1 team in the world".
"Then I would think about Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Shami".
Catching though remains India's biggest worry.
Kohli and Co. had received a lot of flak after losing the opening two Tests. South Africa need to solve that issue first.
While Elgar was unbowed after being hit on the hip, helmet, and a multitude of times on the fingers during his near six-hour stay, India found a way around his stubbornness by ripping through the batsmen at the other end. Barring injuries or dramatic loss of form, the core of this team will also travel to England in the summer. India have never won an ODI series in South Africa.