Even the most liberal of South African followers of sport show a fierce nationalistic pride that falls just a few steps short of possibly being classed as xenophobic where defeating the Australians is concerned.
So the victory over Steve Smith and his side in the shapeless baggy green, the cap which is uniquely Australian, after a stuttering start and the loss of strike bowler Dale Steyn, was doubly sweet, better by far in the traditional five-day format of the game than the 5-0 whitewash dished out to the Aussies in the recent one day international series in South Africa.
To put the 177-run triumph over Australia into perspective, the last time Australia lost the first Test of a home season was back in 1988 and the last time Australia lost a home Test was to the Proteas at the Waca in 2012 where, with the opening Tests of the three-match series producing draws in Brisbane and Adelaide, South Africa wrapped up the series with a crushing 309-run victory, Hashim Amla’s 196 and 169 from AB de Villiers in the second innings plus some fiery fast bowling by Steyn, Morne Morkel and Vernon Philander proved the difference.
This latest win – achieved without injured skipper De Villiers – gives a strong indication of what is to come from young players of the calibre of Kagiso Rabada, man-of-the-match at the Waca, Quinton de Kock, Temba Bavuma and 26-year-old debutant Keshav Maharaj, who featured prominently with both the bat and his spin bowling.
Certainly, there is a new wave of optimism about the future of cricket in this country which has been singularly lacking since the Proteas lost their top Test team status after losing to England at the Wanderers in January.
With Tests against Australia in Hobart and Adelaide to come, another whitewash of the Aussies is still possible.