Rassie van der Dussen made a successful return from injury to top score with 95 in the second innings of South Africa's tour clash with a Cricket Australia XI.
His superb knock at Allan Border Field was followed up by No.6 batter Theunis de Bruyn, who made a thumping 88 off just 86 balls as the Proteas declared at 8-304 on the cusp of stumps on day three.
Cricket Australia will need 426 on the final day to win after the Proteas made 347 in their first innings then bowled the hosts out for 226.
Van der Dussen was crestfallen to miss out on his century, having been run out after Temba Bavuma sent him back after Van der Dussen called for a single.
The 33-year-old had missed the final Test of the recent England tour and the T20 World Cup with a broken finger.
De Bruyn, 30, played his last Test in 2019 and his positive knock may be the tonic to invigorate the next stage of his career.
Captain Dean Elgar, who top-scored with 109 in the first innings, said after play on the first day it was imperative the Proteas made substantial totals in the coming Test series to give their strike pacemen the opportunity to put pressure on Australia's batters.
South Africa breathed a sigh of relief when Test vice-captain Bavuma strode to the crease just before lunch.
Bavuma, who made 28, didn't bat in the first innings after reinjuring an elbow that had kept him out of the recent Test tour of England.
He wore a compression bandage on his left arm when he batted. His recovery is a huge boost to the Proteas' chances in the first Test against Australia at the Gabba starting on December 17.
Van der Dussen was in supreme form. His drives down the ground were crisp and effective and he played a suite of reverse sweeps to the boundary off spinner Matt Kuhnemann.
Bavuma faced a much-needed 92 deliveries and showcased his strength square of the wicket, which is paramount for batsmen on Australian pitches.
De Bruyn was pleased with his own knock and impressed with Bavuma's return from injury ahead of the Tests.
"If you look at his career he is one of those characters that really stand out when the team is under pressure," de Bruyn said.
"He looked really calm today and ... that is something for him to take into next week.
"Our team has played well. We've set the game up nicely. Usually I am batting earlier and you have to break down the bowlers but today I came in and they were tired so it was quite nice to bat."
The accomplished 80 made by wicketkeeper Kyle Verreynne in the first innings was another positive just six days from the first Test.
Queensland quick Blake Edwards (3-45) has come into the Cricket Australia side for the final two days of the match after paceman Liam Hatcher was ruled out with a knee complaint.