Temba Bavuma produced his best century for the Proteas to ensure they went to stumps on day three of the second Betway Test against West Indies in the pound seat at the DP World Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg on Friday.
Nearly six weeks after delivering his best One-Day International ton against England in a crucial series win, the South Africa captain scored an unbeaten career-best 171 off 275 balls (20 fours) to almost single-handed carry his side into a strong position.
They reached the close on the third day with a total of 287 for seven thanks in the main to Bavuma, whose magnificent performance took the hosts’ lead to 356 after they were in a precarious position early on. His main support came from Wiaan Mulder (42) and Simon Harmer (19) to some extent, but the rest of the batters struggled.
The South Africans had started the day on four for none and they fell into early trouble when Dean Elgar (5) and Tony de Zorzi (1) both fell inside the opening half-hour, Kyle Mayers (2/25) causing the early damage.
That brought Bavuma in with the score on eight for two and a massive rebuilding job awaited. Things got even worse as the morning progressed with batter of the series thus far, Aiden Markram, edging Kemar Roach (1/54) behind to Joshua da Silva for 18.
It was 32 for three at that stage and another wicket fell 37 runs later when Ryan Rickelton (10) edged Raymon Reifer (1/36) to the West Indian wicketkeeper as the Proteas battled to string together any meaningful partnerships.
Then when Alzarri Joseph (2/49) next removed Heinrich Klaasen (14), the home side were reeling on 103 for five.
Bavuma was a spectator at the other end for most of that time, but he finally find support through Mulder as the pair added 103 for the sixth wicket to double South Africa’s score.
During the partnership Bavuma went to only his second Test century in 192 balls and he then picked up the pace to reach his 150 in another 62 deliveries as he shared an important 71-run stand with Harmer.
The skipper lost his partner a few overs before stumps when he was trapped leg before wicket by Jason Holder (1/35), but he remained unbeaten to leave the home side in a strong position.
image: Temba Bavuma scores in the 2nd Test Match against the West Indies, Wanderers, Johannesburg (photo Marcel Sigg)