Australia and South Africa head to Cape Town locked at one-all after the Proteas wrapped up a six-wicket win in Port Elizabeth.
But the hosts will travel to Newlands without the services of their star fast bowler Kagiso Rabada after the quick was suspended for two-Tests for his brush with Australia captain Steve Smith on day one.
However, Cricket South Africa and Rabada are seeking legal counsel as to whether they will appeal the match referee's verdict in the next two days, meaning he could still play if he is cleared before the Cape Town Test.
Man-of-the-match Rabada was instrumental in South Africa levelling the series with 11 wickets for the match, including 6-54 in Australia's second innings of 239 that set the Proteas just 101 to win on Monday.
The home side lost their openers early in pursuit of victory but through veterans Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers the result was never in doubt as the they added 49 for the third wicket to come within 20 of the target when the duo departed in the space of four balls.
Captain Faf du Plessis and No.6 Theunis de Bruyn delivered the win and the first loss to the star-studded Australia bowling attack of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and Nathan Lyon, who had been a perfect five from five as a Test quartet.
Nursing a fragile overnight lead of just 41, Mitch Marsh added six runs from the first five balls of the day, bowled by Rabada, before the sixth uprooted his stump to end another impressive innings on 45.
Marsh was caught muttering offensive language to the bowler as he walked off the ground and accepted a Level 1 charge by the ICC and was fined 20 per cent of his match fee and handed one demerit point.
Australia assistant coach David Saker said after play on day three a lead of 150 would be ideal while No.3 Usman Khawaja was prepared to dream with a three-figure lead, but those hopes appeared to be dashed when de Bruyn plucked a terrific catch at gully to send Cummins on his way as Rabada's fifth victim of the innings and 10th of the match.
It is the fourth time in just 28 matches that Rabada has captured 10 wickets in a match, and the 22-year-old is now just one short of the South African record held by Dale Steyn, who has bagged five in 86 Tests.
Starc became Rabada's sixth wicket when he edged a booming lofted drive to reduce the tourists to 8-204, and seven runs later Lyon was out in similar fashion as he looked to drive hulking quick Lungi Ngidi.
But a 10th-wicket stand of 28 – with 17 coming from the bat of No.11 Hazlewood – lifted the lead to Khawaja's goal of 100 before Hazlewood was caught on the rope trying to hit Keshav Maharaj for a second six.
The last time Australia had bowled a team out for less than 100 was in November 2011 when they skittled South Africa for 96 at Newlands before the Proteas hit back twice as hard and routed the tourists for 47.
There's an old adage in cricket that suggests when defending a low total, everything needs to go your way. For the Australians, it didn't.
Fielding at first slip, where his brother Shaun usually stands, Mitchell Marsh dropped a regulation catch to spare Aiden Markram on seven and deprive Hazlewood and the visitors a vital early breakthrough.
Australia claimed the wicket of Dean Elgar before lunch, who was well caught by Lyon off his own bowling in what was a carbon copy of his dismissal in the first innings at Kingsmead.
Hazlewood then claimed Markram's wicket after the main break, caught by Smith at second slip in front of first slip Shaun Marsh, who had swapped back with his brother for the afternoon session.
Smith reluctantly burnt an appeal trying remove Hashim Amla lbw to Lyon, but his hesitancy proved well founded when ball tracking confirmed the off-break was spinning past leg stump.
From there, Amla and de Villiers chewed through the required runs like they were grazing after a long lunch, picking off one here, two there and when the mood struck them – and it struck de Villiers quite regularly – putting the ball over or to the boundary.
With victory 20 runs away, Amla departed on 27 driving wildly at a wide Cummins half-volley and edging through to Paine, who leaped high and to his right to reel in the catch.
Three balls later the unthinkable happened – de Villiers was out, caught at bat-pad having got himself into an awkward position charging the off-spinner Lyon.
At 4-81, the Australians would have been wishing they had an extra 50 runs to play with, but that wasn't the case here as du Plessis and de Bruyn ticked off the final 20 runs with ease.
The teams will now have some down time before the third Test begins in Cape Town on Thursday week, but whether Rabada will be playing at Newlands will be the talking point in the afterglow of an absorbing Test.
Australia XI: David Warner, Cameron Bancroft, Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith (c), Shaun Marsh, Mitchell Marsh, Tim Paine (wk), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood
South Africa XI: Dean Elgar, Aiden Markram, Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers, Faf du Plessis (c), Theunis de Bruyn, Quinton de Kock (wk), Vernon Philander, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi
Qantas tour of South Africa
South Africa squad: Faf du Plessis (c), Hashim Amla, Temba Bavuma, Quinton de Kock, Theunis de Bruyn, AB de Villiers, Dean Elgar, Heinrich Klaasen, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, Morne Morkel, Wiaan Mulder, Lungi Ngidi, Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada.
Australia squad: Steve Smith (c), David Warner (vc), Cameron Bancroft, Pat Cummins, Peter Handscomb, Josh Hazlewood, Jon Holland, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Tim Paine, Jhye Richardson, Chadd Sayers, Mitchell Starc.
Warm-up match: Australia beat South Africa A by five wickets. Report, highlights
First Test Australia won by 118 runs. Scorecard
Second Test St George's Park, Port Elizabeth, March 9-13. Live coverage
Third Test Newlands, Cape Town, March 22-26. Live coverage
Fourth Test Wanderers, Johannesburg, March 30-April 3. Live coverage