(CNN) -- Australia confirmed their status as the number one ranked team in Test cricket with a convincing 175-run victory over South Africa in Durban on Tuesday to wrap up the three-match series 2-0.
Australia's players celebrate the key wicket of JP Duminy to Ben Hilfenhaus.
Australia went to South Africa off the back of a home series defeat to South Africa, who looked set to leapfrog them at the head of the ranking by repeating the success on home soil.
But a thumping victory in Johannesburg in the opening Test and a second decisive win in Durban has seen Ricky Ponting's men back to their best.
"Coming here we knew we had our backs to the wall," admitted Ponting.
"I think what a lot of people overlooked coming here was just how close the series was at home, but we put our best foot forward and played our best cricket in the first two Tests here."
Ponting took particular satisfaction in the "unbelievable" performances of his Test debutants such as double centurion Phillip Hughes, who was named man-of-the-match in Durban and said he was looking forward to the Ashes series against England later this year.
"All of a sudden we look good again," he added.
South Africa resumed the final day at Kingsmead on 244 for two wickets, chasing an improbable 546 for victory, but the early loss of Jacques Kallis for 93 and AB De Villers put paid to their hopes.
Kallis went to left arm paceman Mitchell Johnson after adding just five to his total, ending a stand of 187 with De Villers, who went soon afterwards, caught behind off Peter Siddle.
JP Duminy and Mark Boucher held out for an hour until Duminy was caught behind for 17, gloving a nasty rising delivery from Ben Hilfenhaus.
Occasional left-arm spinner Simon Katich removed Paul Harris and went on to take two more wickets as the South Africans were slowly whittled out.
South African captain Graeme Smith did not bat in the second innings after breaking his finger in his side's sorry collapse to 138 all out first time around which set Australia on their way to victory.