Cape Town - Quinton de Kock scored his second Test century and shared a sixth wicket partnership of 144 with Temba Bavuma to tighten the Proteas' grip on the second Test match against Australia at Hobart on Monday.
STUMPS: AUSTRALIA V PROTEAS, DAY 3
On a day on which play was disrupted by intermittent showers the Proteas took their lead to an imposing 241 runs and then got two wickets, including that of David Warner, before bad light brought a slightly early close.
The Australians nevertheless had made a good fightback, first taking the last five Proteas wickets for 50 runs with the second new ball and then reducing their overall deficit to a more manageable 120 runs by the close. Usman Khawaja had led the batting fightback with an unbeaten 56 (103 balls, 8 fours).
Earlier Josh Hazlewood, who has been easily the pick of the Australian attack and is the most similar in type to Vernon Philander, took four of the last five wickets to fall to finish with the outstanding figures of 6/89 in 30.5 overs.
De Kock continued the majestic form that he has shown all year, going past the half-century for the fifth time in a row to equal a mark only previously achieved for South Africa by Alan Melville, Hansie Cronje, Hashim Amla and Jacques Kallis (the latter on no fewer than 3 occasions). He has now scored 540 runs in the current calendar year for an average of 80 which is the best in the year so far.
The key thing about De Kock is not just the runs he scores but the way he takes the game away from the opposition. His 101 came off just 143 balls and included 17 fours.
Bavuma has also had an outstanding calendar year with an average well in excess of 50 and a career average that is now settled on the benchmark of 40. His temperament has been serene and he has shown his ability both at Perth and again here to settle things down after the loss of a clump of wickets. His partnership of 56 with Amla that preceded the bigger one with De Kock was equally important in setting up the big lead.
His 74 today came off 204 balls with 8 fours.
Philander continued to restore his status as an all-rounder with an innings of 32 off 28 balls (6 fours) before being the last man out.
Although Australia have made a strong response with the bat the Proteas bowlers did more than enough with the ball to suggest that there is still plenty of life in the pitch and also the first signs of a bit of uneven bounce.
Kyle Abbott took the two wickets to fall and Philander and Kagiso Rabada were unlucky not to get into the wickets column as well. The regular rain intervals meant that the quick men were able to freshen up all the time and the fact that they had all of Sunday and quite a lot of Monday off suggests that they will have plenty of energy for a final push on Tuesday.