Aiden Markram helped the Proteas make a strong start before the West Indies fought back on the first day of the second Test at the Wanderers.
Left-arm spinner Gudakesh Motie, however, picked up three wickets as South Africa closed on 311-7, having slipped from their formidable teatime position of 247-2.
Aiden Markram (96) and Tony de Zorzi (85) were mainly responsible for the Proteas’ healthy position before the hosts struggled after the second interval.
“It’s not just the four runs [for the century],” Markram said. “On that pitch I should have been looking at a really big score, 160 or 170.”
Markram, who made 115 in South Africa’s 87-run win in the first Test in Centurion, was in imperious form, hitting 17 fours off 139 balls.
He described his dismissal, trying to play an uncharacteristic scoop shot against Motie, as “a brain fade”.
HIGHLIGHTS: Proteas vs West Indies (2nd Test, Day 1)
Markram and De Zorzi, playing in his second Test, put on 116 off 164 balls.
De Zorzi was later bowled by Motie during a South African post-tea collapse in which five wickets fell for 62 runs.
“He’s got a good head on his shoulders,” Markram said of his inexperienced teammate. “You need guys at No 3 who can apply themselves.”
The left-handed De Zorzi (25) said he had tried to play as normally as possible rather than thinking about the leap from first-class to Test cricket.
“You have to do what got you here,” he said.
WATCH: Pitch quickened up – De Zorzi
Jason Holder bowled a tight spell after tea and claimed the wicket of Proteas captain Temba Bavuma, who played no shot and was lbw for 28 to a ball that cut back sharply.
De Zorzi, playing in his second Test, batted fluently to be on 75 off 124 deliveries at tea but could add only another 10 runs off 31 balls before he was bowled by Motie.
What a moment for Tony de Zorzi 👏
He brings up his maiden half-century with his seventh four of the innings 🇿🇦 pic.twitter.com/zzzjWfK9rr
— SuperSport 🏆 (@SuperSportTV) March 8, 2023
He was drawn forward and beaten by a flighted delivery which spun back and hit the top of his off stump.
Motie finished the day with 3-75.
Ryan Rickelton was caught behind for 22 off Alzarri Joseph and Kyle Mayers claimed two wickets with the second new ball late in the day, bowling Wiaan Mulder and having Simon Harmer caught behind.
Motie earlier had Dean Elgar caught at short fine leg for 42 off a ball that was outside the left-hander’s leg stump, then denied Markram a second century in successive matches when Markram attempted a scoop shot.
The ball looped off his bat and Jermaine Blackwood ran around from slip to leg slip to hold the catch.
Markram had been in imperious form, striking 17 boundaries off 139 balls.
Elgar and Markram put on 76 for the first wicket after Bavuma won the toss and chose to bat on an unusually docile Wanderers pitch.
At a venue with a tradition for pace and bounce, a dry surface gave some assistance to the spin bowlers on the first day, seemingly justifying South Africa’s decision to choose two spinners.
De Zorzi joined Markram in a free-scoring second-wicket partnership of 116 off 164 balls for the second wicket.
The West Indies regained a measure of control after Markram’s dismissal, with De Zorzi and Bavuma batting at a more sedate pace before tea.
Then, in a pattern similar to the first day of the first Test at Centurion, the West Indies dominated the last session.