South Africa's Temba Bavuma was left stranded on 95 not-out as they tightened their grip over scandal-hit Australia after reducing the hapless visitors to 110 for six at the close on the second day of the fourth and final Test on Saturday.
Temba Bavuma (25) and Quinton de Kock (seven) will resume on the second morning, looking for a sizeable total on a wicket already taking turn and showing widening cracks as they seek a first home series win over Australia in nearly 50 years.
The Australia team began the first day in Johannesburg standing in a tight circle on the field before play to congratulate Sayers on being selected for his debut in place of the injured Mitchell Starc.
Aiden Markram, though, remained composed as South Africa reached 88-1 at lunch, before Hashim Amla was then caught in the slips for 27. Faf du Plessis won the toss and elected to bat first, meaning the retiring Morne Morkel would have to wait to get his hands on the ball.
Usman Khawaja's half century was the only bright spot for Australia. Three overs later, the duo were hard on the offspinner once again with Maharaj smashing another six behind square much to the crowd's delight.
He paid tribute to the quality of South Africa's bowling but added: "Obviously after the week we've had there's a lot of disappointment in the room that we can't put something together".
Without their former captain Smith‚ Australia were led by Tim Paine who revealed at the post-play press conference that he suggested the unusual gesture of players exchanging handshakes before action got underway in the morning. Paine attempted to smash Kagiso Rabada over long on and Dean Elgar pulled off a fantastic catch running towards the boundary, diving and taking the catch over his shoulder.
South Africa declares 10 days of mourning for Madikizela-Mandela
The other, "Rise Up" celebrated Nelson Mandela's presidency. "And he shed tears to say that we have made a decision to separate". Thus some of the warm tributes that have been paid following her death aged 81 ring more than a little hollow.
Renshaw poked and prodded before he edged a wide Philander delivery to fall for eight before, the very next ball, Handscomb dragged on looking to leave the right-armer to be bowled for the day's second golden duck.
BOWLING: Hazlewood 26-3-86-0, Sayers 35-9-78-2, Cummins 28.5-5-83-5 (1w), Lyon 40-3-182-3, M. Marsh 6-1-30-0, Renshaw 1-0-4-0.
The squad was bolstered by openers Joe Burns and Matt Renshaw, who arrived in the country 48 hours before the start of the fourth Test along with all-rounder Glenn Maxwell, after desposed captain Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft were sent home for their part in the scandal.
Khawaja offered a ray of hope, playing well until his leg glance was brilliantly caught by stump-hugging de Kock off Vernon Philander, who finished with 3-17.
The batsman who stood in as skipper during the ODI series against India after Faf du Plessis was ruled out with injury said the Proteas will look to put a good score on the board.
The usually pugnacious batsman, 31, repeatedly struggled to talk and tears ran down his face as he apologised to fans, team-mates, his family and the Australian public.