Wellington - 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 06:25 SA time 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.
Petersen had survived a loud lbw shout on the first ball of the day from Chris Martin and was then dropped by Guptill, who dived full length to where third slip would have been standing, only to have the ball strike his forearm.
Duminy brought up his fourth test half century when he top-edged the next delivery over the slips for his sixth boundary.
They went to 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.
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.