Neil McKenzie's tour de force hundred and a second three-figure exercise in determination from Hashim Amla completed South Africa's escapology act in the first Test at Lord's today.
McKenzie (138) shut out England for nine-and-a-quarter hours, and his second-wicket partner Amla (104no) outlasted him for a five-and-a-half-hour hundred of his own as South Africa secured a draw by closing out the match on 393 for three.
South Africa's safety was a far cry from the peril of following on two days ago 346 runs behind, apparently certain to lose and go 1-0 down in this four-match series.
But McKenzie and his captain Graeme Smith responded with an opening stand of 204, and the former was then joined by Amla to add 125 more.
Suffering with a groin strain towards the end of his 447-ball 138 and batting with Smith as a runner, McKenzie eventually went when he was unable to move his feet towards an attempted cut shot and edged a ball from James Anderson behind.
By that time, though, the tourists knew the job was almost done - and even after Jacques Kallis had been yorked by Ryan Sidebottom to go cheaply, Amla still would not be moved.
He reached a 231-ball hundred and was still in situ, in company with first-innings centurion Ashwell Prince when the umpires unexpectedly offered the batsmen the opportunity of going off for bad light.
It appeared an expedient decision which found little favour with the last-day crowd.
When the players returned shortly afterwards, there was a farcical epilogue as - with the third new ball only four overs old - part-time off-spinners Alastair Cook and Kevin Pietersen completed bowling duties until the stalemate was confirmed at 4.50pm.