Set a record fourth innings target at The Wanderers ground of 310, brilliant knocks from Brad Haddin (55) and Mitchell Johnson (40 not out) and the winning boundary from golden boy Pat Cummins (13no) saw Australia square the two-Test series with a two-wicket win in remarkable circumstances, as the light quickly faded late on the fifth day.

In the first Test in Cape Town, Australia suffered a humiliating defeat when they were bowled out for a 109-year record low of 47 in the third innings to lose by eight-wickets.

But with the selection axe hanging over them, Haddin and Ricky Ponting (62), who hadn’t scored half centuries since the start of the Ashes, and the inconsistent Johnson proved the heroes getting the job done in 86.5 overs.

The trio were the three men in the firing line after the Newlands debacle and early struggles in the Johannesburg match, but gave a timely reminder of what they’re capable of leading into the Australian summer.

Ponting was defiant, and Haddin and Johnson brought Australia within 23 runs of the target with an inspired partnership of 72.

Peter Siddle came in and hit a boundary before popping one up to mid-on off Dale Steyn (1-98) with 18 runs required.

With nine left to win, Steyn missed a caught-and-bowled chance off Cummins, only for the ball to make it to the boundary for a precious four runs.

Cummins then survived a tight lbw shout from Imran Tahir (1-63) and two balls later smashed him to the fence to cap an incredible debut.

The teenager took seven wickets for the match and became the second youngest in history to take six wickets in an innings (6-79).

Only four teams had previously won in Johannesburg batting last and the old record for highest successful fourth-innings run chase was 294 set by Australia in 2006.

Australia haven’t lost a series in South Africa since the Proteas were readmitted to international cricket in the early 1990s.

The tourists’ chase was teetering on a knife’s edge on the final day, and the 168 runs required to win was made even more unlikely by a three-hour rain delay.

Captain Michael Clarke fell early and Ponting 10 overs later, and victory was looking more unlikely at 5-165.

A partnership of 50 between Haddin and Michael Hussey (39) raised hopes, but they suffered a massive blow when the latter was out right before tea and it was 6-222 and 88 runs were still needed.

Keeper Haddin (seven boundaries) and left-arm fast bowler Johnson were outstanding at the start of the final session – smashing 51 runs in the first eight overs after tea.

Rookie Vernon Philander (5-70) only made his Test debut in Cape Town last week, but has been arguably the player of the series with 14 wickets at 13.

The right-arm quick bowled Clarke early, had Hussey lbw and then made the crucial breakthrough of Haddin.