Sulieman Benn took 4-59 to reduce South Africa to 145-5 before the 134-run pairing of AB de Villiers and Ashwell Prince propelled the visitors ahead.
Patience and determination from de Villiers and Prince, backed up by a bit of luck, helped South Africa lay the foundation for a first innings lead. With the pitch expected to deteriorate, the efforts of Prince (55*) and Mark Boucher (4*) in the first session of day three will be decisive.
It was slow going initially by de Villiers and Smith, cautious against Benn with five fielders around the bat, but the pair patiently weathered the storm. De Villiers broke a 135-ball boundary drought and Prince brought up the half-century partnership with a push to point in a post-lunch session that yielded just 58.
After tea, Bess’ ill-discipline resulted in de Villiers reached his half-century and took South Africa into the lead before Prince raised his own. However, just as West Indies seemed to be drifting out of contention, Benn struck again to remove de Villiers shortly before stumps.
Earlier the West Indies spinners were able to extract both turn and bounce in good measure, keeping the close-in fielders interested throughout and troubling the South African top order. Despite this, Smith and Kallis settled in well after seeing off the early pressure created by the loss of Paul Harris and Dwayne Bravo’s four consecutive maidens.
Benn, however, was rewarded for his variation. Smith, surprised by the sharp turn and extra bounce on a ball turning from the footmarks, was the first to go, popping a catch to short leg. An arm ball from Benn in the first over after lunch took Kallis’ off-stump, deceived after a ball that gripped and spun, to leave South Africa at 145-5
De Villiers’ resistance could have been ended early on a few occasions had the hosts employed reviews. On 8, de Villiers bottom-edged Kemar Roach to the wicketkeeper. A long discussion followed Steve Davies’ rejection of the appeal, but the decision went uncontested. Then, de Villiers on 42, debutant Brandon Bess trapped him in front, but the umpire’s call again went uncontested.
West Indies (first innings) 231 all out
Dwayne Bravo 61, Narsingh Deonarine 46, Johan Botha 4-56
South Africa (first innings) 285-6
AB de Villiers 73, Graeme Smith 70, Sulieman Benn 4-59
South Africa lead by 54 runs with four wickets in hand.
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