Graeme Smith strode out to bat for South Africa for the final time, and he was given a generous reception from the Cape Town crowd and his Australian opponents.
Michael Clarke shook the skipper's hand as his team formed a guard of honour for Smith.
It was a fitting gesture for one of the game's greatest captains and toughest characters.
Smith played 117 Tests for his country, scoring 9,265 runs at 48.25. He had also led his country as captain since 2002/03 and had taken the team to the top of the Test rankings.
Smith did not get his fairytale finish, however, with the 33-year-old fending off Mitchell Johnson to short leg for just three runs.
He was treated to more applause from the crowd as he bowed out of the Test arena for the final time.
South Africa have only recently lost Jacques Kallis to retirement, and they will now have more rebuilding to do to the batting order as they look to bounce back from a tough series against Australia.