(CNN) -- An incredible 23 wickets fell on day two of the second Test in Cape Town as South Africa dismissed Australia for 47 -- the fourth lowest total in their history.
The hosts themselves had been reduced to 96 all out in reply to Australia's first innings total of 284 as a tumultuous afternoon session saw the match turn on its head.
South Africa ripped through their opponents, who at one stage were 21-9 and struggling to get beyond the lowest Test total in history -- New Zealand's 26 all out against England in 1955.
Tail-enders Peter Siddle and Nathan Lyon were the only batsmen to reach double figures as they took the total to 47, giving Australia a lead of 235.
By the end of play a part of all four innings had been witnessed and the hosts had reached 81-1, meaning they need another 155 runs to pull off a remarkable victory.
Australian captain Michael Clarke told Cricket Australia's official website that his team could still win the game but said some of the shots his batsmen had played were "horrible."
"The top seven of us, as a batting unit, need to take full responsibility for what just occurred," he said. "(It was) certainly not good enough, and me as the leader, especially after coming off a good first innings total, certainly needs to take the blame.
"Our shot selection was horrible. South Africa deserve a lot of credit. They bowled well but in my opinion we shouldn't have been all out for 47. That's unacceptable. I take full responsibility for that."
The day had started promisingly for Australia as Clarke added 44 runs to his overnight tally to end on 151 as his side were dismissed for 284.
South Africa reached 49-1 at lunch before wickets started to tumble.
Shane Watson took five in a devastating five over spell as the hosts wobbled. Ryan Harris chipped in with four wickets as South Africa slumped to 96 all out, narrowly avoiding the follow on.
But Australia's second innings didn't even last until the tea interval as Vernon Philander and Morne Morkel carved through the top order.
Australia's top eight batsmen managed just 21 runs between them as Philander took 5-15 and Morkel ended with figures of 3-9. Dale Steyn took two wickets for 23 runs.
Only a late flurry from Siddle and Lyon took Australia up to 47, their lowest Test total for 109 years.
South Africa lost Jacques Rudolph but captain Graeme Smith and Hasim Amla ensured they reached the end of play with nine wickets remaining.
They now need 155 more runs to wrap up a win inside three days.