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S Africa regain initiative in Windies

Resolute batting from AB de Villiers and Ashwell Prince steadied South Africa before tea in the third and final Test against West Indies on Sunday.

cricket Updated: Jun 28, 2010 02:57 IST

Resolute batting from AB de Villiers and Ashwell Prince steadied South Africa before tea in the third and final Test against West Indies on Sunday.

De Villiers was not out on 34 and Prince was not out on 26, as South Africa reached 203 for five, replying to West Indies' first innings total of 231, at the break on the second day at Kensington Oval.

De Villiers and Prince defied the West Indies bowlers to put the Proteas back on track, after they slipped to 145 for five.

The pair has added 58 - unbroken - for the sixth wicket, following the dismissal of Jacques Kallis with the last ball of the first over after lunch.

Kallis surrendered his wicket tamely with a rare misjudgement, when he offered no stroke to an arm-ball from Sulieman Benn, and was bowled for 43.

Benn, the beanpole left-arm spin bowler, has been the pick of the West Indies' bowlers with three wickets for 43 runs from 22 overs.

There were few alarms for de Villiers and Prince, as the batted through the remainder of the afternoon session to give South Africa a slight edge.

On 60, Prince had an agonising wait before West Indies opted not to review a not-out decision from Australian umpire Steve Davis, when it appeared the batsmen may have edged a delivery from Kemar Roach to the keeper.

Video replays later proved inconclusive, and justified the West Indies' decision, and de Villiers continued merrily along with Prince.

Before lunch, South Africa captain Graeme Smith fell for 70 just before the interval to Benn to bring West Indies back into the match.

Smith departed, followed a stand of 62 with Kallis for the fourth wicket, as the South Africans, resuming from their overnight total of 46 for two, reached 145 for four at the interval.

Smith was unflappable throughout his 159-minute stay at the crease, and reached his 50 from 79 balls, when he worked Shane Shillingford through backward square leg for two.

He survived an umpiring decision review for lbw to Benn, when he was 60, and had his sights set on his second hundred of the series.

But Smith misread his 115th delivery from Benn in the final half-hour before the interval, played defensively forward, and gave a bat-pad catch to forward short leg. He struck nine boundaries in his innings.

Smith and Kallis had cooled West Indies' passions, after Brandon Bess claimed his maiden Test scalp, when night-watchman Paul Harris was caught at first slip for 11 in the first half-hour of a sun-kissed day.

South Africa lead the three-Test series 1-0, after they won the first Test by 163 runs inside four days last Sunday at Queen's Park Oval in Trinidad, and the second Test was drawn at Warner Park in St. Kitts.