London - Temba Bavuma's gutsy fifty saw South Africa avoid the follow-on in the third Test against England at The Oval on Saturday.
When rain led to an early lunch on the third day, England were 20 without loss in their second innings -- a lead of 198 runs.
Former captain Alastair Cook was six not out and fellow left-hander Keaton Jennings unbeaten on 10.
But the struggling South Africa-born Jennings, out for nought in the first innings of this match, nearly fell cheaply again to another slip catch off Vernon Philander when he edged the paceman on six.
But third slip Dean Elgar could not hold the sharp chance and the ball went for four.
Earlier, Bavuma's 52 took the Proteas to 175 all out in reply to England's first innings 353 -- a deficit of 178.
He was eventually out when Toby Roland-Jones, who'd removed all of South Africa's top four in a sensational debut bowling effort on Friday, had him caught behind by Jonny Bairstow.
Middlesex seamer Roland-Jones finished with figures of five for 57 in 16.4 overs to become just the sixth England cricketer to take five or more wickets in their debut bowling innings in Test match cricket.
South Africa resumed on 126 for eight, still 28 runs shy of avoiding the follow-on, in what is the 100th men's Test staged at The Oval.
Bavuma was 34 not out and Morne Morkel unbeaten on two, with this four-match series in the balance at 1-1 and the continued overcast conditions again favouring the faster bowlers.
South Africa were bolstered by the knowledge that all-rounder Philander had been passed fit after a night on a hospital drip followed a second day's play from which the paceman was largely absent.
Morkel got the Proteas going on Saturday with an off-driven four off Stuart Broad worthy of a frontline batsman rather than a fast bowler.
Bavuma followed up by driving Roland-Jones for a boundary through mid-on.
The diminutive Bavuma had a reprieve on 40 when an edged drive off Broad flew low to gully where a diving Ben Stokes could not hold what would have been a stunning catch.
Bavuma subsequently ensured South Africa avoided the follow-on by driving a Broad half-volley through the covers for four.
And he then produced an even better cover-driven four off James Anderson, with England's record Test wicket-taker hit on the up.
But a valuable ninth-wicket partnership of 47 ended when Morkel (17) nicked Anderson to Cook at first slip.
Bavuma's edge to the third man boundary off Roland-Jones saw him complete a hard-earned fifty off 111 balls, including eight fours.
The worth of his more than three-hour innings was acknowledged by South Africa captain Faf du Plessis, who led the applause from the dressing room balcony.
But Bavuma was out soon afterwards, with Roland-Jones leading England off the field.
Stokes made 112 and Cook 88 in a competitive first-innings total after England were twice dismissed cheaply in a thumping 340-run second Test defeat at Trent Bridge.