Herschelle Gibbs' dashing 67 ended in a run-out just before rain set in yesterday as the third cricket Test between Australia and South Africa headed for a draw.
After the start was delayed an hour because of showers, play was restricted to less than 21 overs on the penultimate day.
Australia, which won last week's second test at Melbourne by 184 runs, is now heavily favored to salvage a draw at the Sydney Cricket Ground and hold on for a 1-0 series win.
South Africa resumed at 4-1 and lost captain Graeme Smith (5) to a contentious lbw decision to Glenn McGrath after seven deliveries, making the score 6-2.
Gibbs and Jacques Kallis combined in an 86-run stand to restore the innings and South Africa's chances of pushing for a win.
But only 5.5 overs were possible between lunch and tea intervals and stumps were pulled without a ball being bowled in the evening session.
South Africa was 94-3, an overall lead of 186 runs, with Kallis unbeaten on 14.
Allrounder Shaun Pollock said the South Africans were prepared to risk losing the series 2-nil in pursuit of a series-leveling win today.
"It boils down to we just really want to give ourselves a chance to win," he said.
Gibbs hit 11 boundaries and faced 74 balls, dominating the partnership with Kallis until he was turned back in the 22nd over and run out at the non-striker's end by Brad Hodge's direct hit.
Gibbs had a reprieve on 34, and the total at 45, when he edged McGrath to first slip, where Shane Warne put down a one-handed chance.
On 46, he drove Brett Lee uppishly to cover, where the ball landed just short of Justin Langer. Gibbs stroked a boundary to raise his 20th test 50 just before rain returned to force an early lunch interval.
South Africa coach Mickey Arthur said umpires erred on three lbw calls in favor of the hosts on Wednesday, when Australia rallied from 54-3 to 359 replying to 451-9 declared.
South Africa's frustrations intensified when Smith was adjudged leg-before after a McGrath ball hit him well above the knee roll with the addition of only two runs to the overnight 4-1.
McGrath was reprimanded for using "obscene or offensive language" by referee Chris Broad after being reported by the umpires for his reaction when a catch went down off his bowling in the 13th over.