A superb 150 by Ashwell Prince and an undefeated 102 by Jacques Kallis saw South Africa take the third and final Castle Lager Test against Australia at Newlands by the scruff of its neck on the second day on Friday.
At close of play, South Africa were 404 for three, for a first innings lead of 195.
Peter Siddle, who has been a thorn in South Africa’s side throughout the series, gave the visitors something to cheer about in the fourth over of the morning when he took a superb one-handed catch off his own bowling to dismiss debutant Imraan Khan for 20.
Prince and Hashim Amla shared a second wicket stand of 97, before Amla was caught behind by Brad Haddin off Mitchell Johnson for 46.
Kallis and Prince made hay on a sunny afternoon, with 191 runs between lunch and tea.
Debutant Bryce McGain, who celebrates his 37th birthday next week, came in for particular punishment, conceding 51 runs off five overs.
Bowling from the other end, Siddle succeeded in drying up the runs from his side — only one run coming off the six overs he bowled in the afternoon session, but his good work was undone by McGain, who was leaking runs.
At tea, South Africa had 256 runs on the board, the partnership between Prince and Kallis was worth 92, and Prince had moved to his 11th Test century.
They continued to score freely after tea — the next 50 runs in their partnership came off just 42 deliveries.
Prince moved on to 150 off 246 balls, having hit 19 boundaries and two sixes, but just as he was looking set to score his second double century in a week, he was caught by Haddin off Ben Hilfenhaus, without adding to his score.
His dismissal was controversial — initially, he was given not out by umpire Steve Bucknor, who is standing in his final Test. Ricky Ponting called for the decision to be reviewed, and although the replays did not show conclusively that the ball had brushed his glove, the third umpire, Billy Bowden, overruled the decision and Prince had to go.
He had batted for two minutes short of six hours and he and Kallis shared a third wicket stand of 160.
Kallis was joined by AB de Villiers, and the flow of runs continued, despite the introduction of the new ball. Their 50 partnership came off just 64 balls, and by close of play they had put on 82 together.
Kallis, who had not scored a century for 22 innings, finally broke the drought, but his 100 — his 31st Test century — came up in somewhat comical fashion. He threw his arms up in celebration, only to find that umpire Asad Rauf had singled a leg bye.
Bowden reviewed the shot and concluded that Kallis had got an edge, but at one stage, the scoreboard went blank as the operators tried to keep up with it flashing from 99 to 100 and back again, but finally Kallis was able to celebrate, after looking rather bemused.
Ponting appeared displeased with the decision to refer the shot, and engaged Rauf in some heated discussion before play was resumed.
At close of play, Kallis was unbeaten on 102 and De Villiers had 39.
Siddle stood head and shoulders above the other Australian bowlers, ending the day with figures of one for 35 off 23 overs. In contrast, McGain went for 102 off 11 overs, Johnson conceded 92 off 24 and Hilfenhaus 97 off 25.
That extras amounted to 47 was another symptom that all was not well with the Australian team. — Sapa