South Africa extended their six-year unbeaten away record on Monday by winning the third Test against Australia by 309 runs in Perth, thus taking the series 1-0 and retaining the top Test ranking.

Australia were all out for 322 late on day four, still miles away from the 632 required for victory despite a swashbuckling 68 not out from fast bowler Mitchell Starc. Dale Steyn was the pick of the Proteas bowlers, taking four wickets and finishing one short of his 300th Test scalp.

It was an emphatic win by the Proteas, who were on 75 for six at one stage on day one and only made 225 in the first innings. They improved as the game went on, carrying on from their miracle draw in Adelaide, and Hashim Amla's 196 on day three earned him the man of the match award.

The most notable part of the final day, aside from the result, was that Ricky Ponting's Test career came to an anti-climactic end, as he was caught in the slips off Robin Peterson for eight, ending his 17-year vigil with an average of 52.

Ponting arrived in the middle in his trademark fashion, skipping and practising his cover drive, with the score on 81 for two, as the South African players formed a guard of honour to welcome him to the crease.

His final knock for his country, at the same venue he debuted at, lasted for 23 deliveries before he was caught by Jacques Kallis, who made little fuss. The South Africans all rushed to shake Punter's hand, hats removed, as he waved to the WACA crowd on his way off the international stage.

The rest of the hosts' morning was equally sombre, as they lost two other wickets while reaching 110 for three at lunch. Having started the day on 40 for nought, they were dismayed to find David Warner back in the hut two balls into the session.

The opening batsman failed to add to his overnight score of 29, and was caught by Graeme Smith in the slips off Vernon Philander, having found the outside edge. Shane Watson then came in to make 25, and was also caught by the Proteas skipper, this time off Morne Morkel.

When Ponting departed a few runs later, Clarke came in to push the score over 100 and ended the session with two cracking boundaries off Peterson. The skipper continued in this vein after the break, striking eight flashy fours.

The afternoon session saw four wickets fall as Steyn and Peterson did the damage. Cowan, who had been batting since the day before, managed to record his 53 before falling into the trap set for him. He hooked Steyn, but found himself caught by Dean Elgar in the deep.

Clarke and Michael Hussey then joined up for a partnership of 58, during which time the skipper was laid low with a delivery to the groin. He recovered to reach 44, never attempting to resist ala Faf du Plessis, and was eventually stumped by De Villiers after trying to smash Peterson.

Hussey could only add 26 to the total, only one boundary in those runs, before he found the edge off a fired-up Steyn, caught behind by De Villiers. Matthew Wade soon followed Mr Cricket to the dressing room, caught at short mid-wicket by Smith off Peterson.

The evening session was more fun than anything else for the crowd, who were resigned to the loss and stuck around for the formalities. Philander, Morkel and Steyn shared the final three wickets as Starc struck nine four and two sixes on his way to a 43-ball half ton.

The final presentations saw Amla get the match award, while Aussie skipper Clarke was given the Man of the Series gong for his two double tons, though he said he'd have swapped all his runs for a single victory.