Joe Burns, Adam Voges and Callum Ferguson, as well as wicketkeeper Peter Nevill, paid the price for a string of batting collapses, while seamer Joe Mennie was also axed after the innings defeat in the second Test in Hobart.
Four uncapped players - openers Matt Renshaw and Nic Maddinson, wicketkeeper-batsman Peter Handscomb and seamer Chadd Sayers - came into the 12-man squad.
Wicketkeeper-batsman Matthew Wade and seamer Jackson Bird, both given previous chances at Test level before being discarded, were also recalled.
South Africa have ensured a third straight series triumph in Australia with thumping victories in Perth and Hobart, rendering the day-night third Test a dead rubber and plunging the host nation into crisis.
Chief selector Rod Marsh stood down from his post ahead of schedule last week and so on Sunday it was his temporary replacement Trevor Hohns who wielded the axe in Adelaide.
Coach Darren Lehmann suggested after the Hobart defeat that only captain Steve Smith, his vice-captain David Warner and seamers Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc were secure and the selection panel was true to his word.
Top order batsman Usman Khawaja, who has been recalled and discarded regularly since making his debut during the 2010-11 Ashes series, also survived along with off-spinner Nathan Lyon.
Australia beat New Zealand in the world's first day-night Test at the Adelaide Oval last year but it was a low scoring affair.
South Africa's bowling attack will be riding high after triggering Australian batting collapses of 10-86 in Perth, 85 all out and 8-32 in Hobart.
Squad: Steve Smith (captain), David Warner, Jackson Bird, Peter Handscomb, Josh Hazlewood, Usman Khawaja, Nic Maddinson, Nathan Lyon, Matt Renshaw, Chadd Sayers, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade
ReutersAustralia's selectors have responded to the threat of a first ever Test series sweep on home soil by dropping five players from their squad.
Original source: Australia wield the axe for third Proteas Test