AB De Villiers scored his 21st Test century to set the Castle Lager Proteas up for a first innings lead of 92 on the third day of the third Sunfoil Test match against the West Indies at Newlands on Sunday.

AB De Villiers completes his 21st Test century during third Test match against West Indies. (Photo by Duif du Toit/Gallo Images)

By the close the West Indies had wiped off all but four runs of the deficit for the loss of their two opening batsmen.

De Villiers was last man out for 148 (194 balls, 15 fours and a six) as he attempted to hit Marlon Samuels out of the ground. The same bowler had been on the receiving end when De Villiers took 16 runs off him, including 10 from reverse sweeps, to reach his century.

It was his sixth century against the West Indies and his third at Newlands and in the process he became the third batsman after Jacques Kallis and Graeme Smith to score 1 000 Test runs at this famous ground.

His key partnerships were 97 for the fourth wicket with Hashim Amla and 96 for the sixth with Stiaan van Zyl. These are the two biggest partnerships of the match to date which underlines the value of De Villiers’ contribution.

De Villiers has now drawn level with Gary Kirsten (also 21 centuries) in joint fourth place on the South African all-time list behind Kallis (45), Smith (27) and Amla (23).

Although the Proteas continued to average between 80 and 90 runs per session the West Indies bowlers stuck doggedly to their task to work their way through the batting line-up. The Proteas’ cause was not helped by the fact that they lost three batsmen to run outs which made their lower order less effective than normal.

Samuels and Jason Holder took two wickets each although the pick of the attack was undoubtedly Suleiman Benn who deserved better than 1/115 in 45 overs.

The West Indies looked in serious trouble when Morne Morkel and Simon Harmer dismissed both their openers in the space of 17 deliveries to have them struggling at 27/2. This included the statistical oddity of Kraigg Brathwaite getting off the mark with a 7 after the batsmen had run three and then De Villiers attempt to run him out at the non-striker’s wicket went for four overthrows.

Leon Johnson and Samuels then managed to bat through to the close in an unbroken partnership of 61 in 20.1 overs. They batted with a lot more circumspection than in the first innings as the visitors made a determined effort to get back into the match.

The Newlands Test has again been well supported with almost 40 000 spectators having passed through the turnstiles after three days.

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