Aiden Markram and Hashim Amla weathered the early storm as they saw South Africa to 65-1 at lunch on day three of the third Test at Newlands.
At the end of the first session, South Africa’s lead was up to 121, having bowled the visitors out for 255 earlier in the morning. The home side were in a commanding position, and with rain forecast for the second session, they would have been happy with where they were.
South Africa lost opener Dean Elgar (14) to Pat Cummins early on, but they were able to regain control quickly thanks to a solid performance in the first innings.
Markram, who was dropped by Usman Khawaja on zero in the first over, was joined in the middle by Amla after the loss of Elgar and the veteran seemed to bring a lot of calm to the proceedings as the Proteas added to their lead. The home side looked like they were not in a hurry to score quickly, and the two South Africans were happy with scoring just ones and twos as the rain clouds could be seen slowly moving over Newlands.
Like in the first innings, the Proteas batsmen were not playing any risky shots, and the Australia trio of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Cummins kept things tight, with all three going at an economy of under three runs an over.
As lunch approached, Australia captain Steve Smith brought himself into the attack to speed things along, and he went for six runs as South Africa finished the session the better of the two sides.
Earlier in the day, Australia added just 10 runs to their overnight total and were eventually bowled out when Kagiso Rabada had Hazlewood caught by Amla at first slip for 10.
South Africa 311 (1st innings): Dean Elgar 141*, AB de Villiers 64; Pat Cummins 4-78, Nathan Lyon 2-43
Australia 255 (1st innings): Cameron Bancroft 77, Nathan Lyon 47; Morne Morkel 4-87, Kagiso Rabada 3-91
South Africa 65-1 (2nd innings): Aiden Markram 36*, Hashim Amla 15*; Pat Cummins 1-17
South Africa lead by 121 runs
Photo: Lee Warren/Gallo Images