Alviro Petersen and JP Duminy batted South Africa into a commanding position with an unbroken 140-run partnership at the close of play on the weather-affected second day of the third and final Test against New Zealand at the Basin Reserve.
Petersen was on 96 and Duminy 76 as the visitors steadily accumulated runs after the start of play was delayed by constant drizzle for almost four-and-half hours, pushing South Africa to 246 for two when bad light stopped play.
The 31-year-old Petersen had been dropped by Martin Guptill on 68 after nicking a Doug Bracewell delivery, but was in sight of his third Test century when umpires offered the option of leaving the ground at 1725 local (0425 GMT) with 12 overs remaining in the day's play.
Play had been halted on the first day at the same time due to fading light. Umpires called a halt to play 10 minutes later.
Resuming on 136 for two, Petersen and Duminy were rarely troubled as New Zealand's attack battled a howling, chilly northerly wind throughout the 37 overs they managed to bowl.
"It was an incredibly tough day in terms of the conditions," New Zealand's Daniel Vettori said. "Not easy for the bowlers.
"I guess we look back on the day and probably wanted two wickets for the 30 overs we were out there and didn't get them. So (it was) South Africa's day."
Petersen and Duminy had resumed after the tea break on 222 for two and added 24 further runs after the break, with Petersen punching Mark Gillespie behind square to move to 96 before the players left the field.
Duminy said his side were pleased with the position of the Test, given the coinditions.
"If we won the toss, we would have probably bowled first as well," Duminy said.
"In saying that, we were always ok with batting first. We knew it would be a challenge in the first hour or two, then once we got through that it would be smooth sailing. I thought we batted quite well.
"It's a decent deck to bat on, and there's a little bit there for the bowlers as well, but pretty pleased with the performance so far as a team.
"Hopefully tomorrow goes better."
There was some bad news for South Africa, however, when top-order batsman Hashim Amla was ruled out of the rest of the match after he had emergency surgery in Wellington.
Amla, who scored 63 on Friday, deflected a Martin delivery into his groin area on Friday and had surgery for "blunt force trauma", the team said.
South Africa only need to draw the game to seal the three-match series after they won the second Test at Seddon Park in Hamilton by nine wickets.
South Africa (1st innings): (overnight 136-2)
G.Smith c van Wyk b Bracewell 5
A.Petersen not out 96
H.Amla c van Wyk b Gillespie 63
JP Duminy not out 76
Extras: (w-2, nb-2, b-2) 6
Total: (for two wickets, 79 overs) 246
Fall of wickets: 1-13, 2-106
Still to bat: AB de Villiers, Jacques Rudolph, Mark Boucher, Vernon Philander, Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, Marchant de Lange
Bowling: Martin 15-3-49-0; Bracewell 17-3-46-1 (w-1); Gillespie 20-4-68-1 (w-1, nb-1); Vettori 20-6-49-0; Brownlie 2-0-20-0; Williamson 5-0-12-0.
New Zealand: Ross Taylor (captain), Daniel Flynn, Martin Guptill, Brendon McCullum, Kane Williamson, Dean Brownlie, Daniel Vettori, Kruger van Wyk, Doug Bracewell, Mark Gillespie, Chris Martin.
South Africa lead the three-match series 1-0.