AB de Villiers scored an unbeaten 126 as South Africa reached 382, giving them a lead of 139 at the end of the first session on day three of the second Test at St George’s Park in Port Elizabeth.
Having led by 20 runs at stumps on day two, South Africa added 119 to give themselves a comfortable lead.
Vernon Philander (36) and Keshav Maharaj (30) made valuable contributions in the lower order, with the eighth and ninth wickets adding 142 runs.
South Africa would have wanted to keep Australia out in the field for the whole of the first session, and they did just that.
De Villiers and Philander started the day well for the home side as they looked to add to their overnight lead. He brought up 300 for South Africa, and his 8,500th Test run with a boundary off Pat Cummins.
The stand between De Villiers and Philander was proving to be very valuable as the lead increased for the Proteas. The 84-run partnership was eventually broken when Cameron Bancroft caught Philander off the bowling of Cummings. It was the Australian seamer’s third wicket of the innings.
De Villiers scored his 22nd Test century, and sixth against Australia, when he arched his back and hit Cummins over the slips for four. It was also his first century in 24 innings.
Maharaj was given a massive lifeline when he looked to go over the top off the bowling of Nathan Lyon, but Usman Khawaja misjudged the flight of the ball and had his foot over the boundary when he made the catch.
Maharaj hit a massive six off Lyon as the lead went over 100, and the home side started to pile on the runs.
The Proteas’ No 10 batsman was starting to play well as he hit three consecutive fours off Mitchell Starc as his partnership with De Villiers went over the 50-run mark.
Maharaj was eventually bowled by Josh Hazlewood for a very handy 30 runs off 24 balls.
Lungi Ngidi scored five before he was run out by Steve Smith to end the innings and the session.
Australia 243 (1st innings): David Warner 63, Cameron Bancroft 38, Kagiso Rabada 5-96, Lungi Ngidi 3-51
South Africa 382 (1st innings): AB de Villiers 126*, Dean Elgar 57, Pat Cummins 3-79, Mitchell Marsh 2-26
South Africa lead by 139 runs
Photo: Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images