South Africa's Quinton de Kock rediscovered his batting form with a career best 141 not out as the tourists seized control of the first Test against a wilting West Indies at the close of play on day two in Saint Lucia on Friday.
The home side reached 82/4 in their second innings at stumps, still 143 behind South Africa’s first innings score of 322 having been bowled out for a paltry 97 on the opening day.
Roston Chase (21 not out) and Jermaine Blackwood (10 not out) will resume on the third morning on a wicket which is starting to show variable bounce and has provided plenty of seam movement.
Fast bowler Kagiso Rabada (2/18) removed home captain Kraigg Brathwaite (7) and Kieran Powell (14), both trapped leg before wicket.
The latter was a concussion replacement in the game after Nkrumah Bonner was struck on the helmet by Anrich Nortje in the first innings.
Nortje (2/34) grabbed the wickets of Shai Hope (12) and Kyle Mayers (12), each of them caught by Wiaan Mulder at third slip.
De Kock was the anchor for South Africa’s innings as his 141 came from 170 balls and included seven sixes. He has been the one batsman in the match so far to master the difficult pitch.
It was his sixth Test century but first in almost two years. He had averaged a little over 12 in the four Tests before this one, so it was a welcome return to form for a player who is a crucial cog in South Africa’s sometimes brittle batting lineup.
West Indies all-rounder Jason Holder recorded figures of 4/75, but the pick of the home bowlers was 19-year-old debutant Jayden Seales (3/75), who was superb until De Kock got stuck into him late in the innings.
Seales is playing only his second first class game in his young career.