Bridgetown: A record sixth-wicket stand between AB De Villiers and Ashwell Prince put South Africa on top in the third and final Test against West Indies.
De Villiers fell in the final half-hour for 73, and Prince was unbeaten on 55, as the South Africans reached 285 for six, replying to West Indies` first innings total of 231, at the close on the second day at Kensington Oval yesterday.
South Africa captain Graeme Smith supported with 70, and Jacques Kallis made 43 to prop up the visitors` batting.
De Villiers and Prince batted resolutely for nearly four hours in humid conditions to defy the West Indies attack, and put the Proteas back on track, after they slipped to 145 for five early in the afternoon session.
The pair added 134 to establish a new record for South Africa against the hosts in Tests before De Villiers was caught behind off Sulieman Benn attempting a cut. He struck half-dozen boundaries from 189 balls in 245 minutes of batting.
Benn, the beanpole left-arm spin bowler, was the pick of the West Indies` bowlers with four wickets for 59 runs from 31 overs, using clever variations of line and length to outfox the South African batsmen.
Earlier, Smith fell just before lunch to Benn to bring West Indies back into the match.
Smith departed, following a stand of 62 with Kallis for the fourth wicket, as the South Africans, resuming from their overnight total of 46 for two, reached 145 for four at the interval.
Smith was unflappable throughout his 159-minute stay at the crease, and reached his 50 from 79 balls, when he worked Shane Shillingford through backward square leg for two.
He survived an umpiring decision review for lbw to Benn, when he was 60, and had his sights set on his second hundred of the series.
But the big left-hander misread his 115th delivery from Benn in the final half-hour before the interval, played defensively forward, and gave a bat-pad catch to forward short leg. He struck nine boundaries in his innings.
Earlier, Brandon Bess claimed his maiden Test scalp, when night-watchman Paul Harris was caught at first slip for 11 in the first half-hour.
After lunch, South Africa suffered an immediate setback, when Kallis was dismissed from the last ball of the first over, following the interval.
Kallis surrendered his wicket tamely with a rare misjudgement, when he offered no stroke to an arm-ball from Benn, and was bowled for 43.
Prince, whose innings includes three boundaries from 173 balls in 235 minutes, joined De Villiers, and there were few alarms, as they carried South Africa to 203 for five at tea.
On eight, De Villiers had an agonising wait before West Indies opted against reviewing a not-out decision from Australian umpire Steve Davis, when it appeared the batsmen may have edged a delivery from Kemar Roach to the keeper.
Video replays later proved inconclusive, and justified the West Indies` decision, and De Villiers continued merrily along with Prince.
After tea, De Villiers and Prince absorbed the pressure from the West Indies, and put South Africa in charge.
De Villiers reached his 50 from 131 balls, with a five that also formalised the lead for the South Africans.
He drove Kemar Roach to the right of Brendan Nash at cover-point, and the fielder`s throw to the striker`s end went wide, then travelled for four overthrows.
Prince benefitted from that missed run-out chance, and proceeded to reach his 50 from 134 deliveries, with a sweep for a single through the leg-side off Benn.
South Africa`s plans however, were undermined, when Benn struck to remove De Villiers about 15 minute before stumps were drawn.
South Africa lead the three-Test series 1-0, after they won the first Test by 163 runs inside four days last Sunday at Queen`s Park Oval in Trinidad, and the second Test was drawn at Warner Park in St. Kitts.