St. Kitts: South Africa's grip on the second Test against West Indies was weakened on Sunday after Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Brendan Nash hit hundreds.
Chanderpaul was undefeated on the top score so far of 151, and Nash made 114, as West Indies reached 424 for four, replying to the South Africans' first innings total of 543 for six declared, at the close on the third day.
The Proteas' bowlers were hamstrung by the friendly Warner Park pitch, and Chanderpaul and Nash filled their troughs in a stand of 220 for the fourth wicket that helped West Indies avoid the follow-on.
"We seem to feed off each other well," said Nash of Chanderpaul. "We've had a few good partnerships in the previous Tests we've played."
Chanderpaul gives you the calm at the other end, like the rock in the foundation. That instills so much confidence in you at the other end.
Chanderpaul got to his 22nd Test hundred from 188 balls, with a square drive for two off Dale Steyn, the same bowler that Nash pulled through square leg for the 12th of his 14 fours to reach his second Test hundred from 129 deliveries.
Fortune favoured South Africa in the final session, when Nash failed to beat A.B. de Villiers' direct hit from backward point.
Nash cut Lonwabo Tsotsobe and set off for a non-existent run. The ball bounced over the head of de Villiers, who leapt, grabbed the ball, and fired a throw, which found the batsman scrambling to regain his ground.
The left-hander also struck one six from 148 balls in close to 200 minutes of batting.
For the remainder of the day, the South Africans were kept at bay by Chanderpaul, whose 264-ball innings spanning close to six hours includes 10 fours and one six, and Dwayne Bravo.
The Proteas appeared to be in firm command, when West Indies continued from their bedtime total of 86 for one.
Play started about 45 minutes later than scheduled due to overnight rain, which left parts of the outfield, if not the pitch, sodden.
South Africa's bowlers did not give away any easy runs under partly cloudy skies, and kept the West Indies batsmen in check.
But this was an early sign of things to come for the South Africans, as overnight batsmen Chris Gayle, the West Indies captain, and Narsingh Deonarine batted resolutely to complete a 93-run stand for the second wicket.
Gayle reached his 50 from 83 balls, when he flicked Tsotsobe through backward square leg, and was lucky that he was not run-out by Morkel's throw from the deep to the bowler's end, as he jogged through for a single.
Morkel gave the Proteas their only breakthrough in a stop-start morning period, when Gayle essayed a flat-footed drive at a well-pitched delivery, and was bowled off the inside edge for an even 50.
The South Africans restricted West Indies to 126 for two at lunch, and Deonarine reached his 50 just before the interval from 117 balls.
After lunch, the South Africans got an early breakthrough, when Steyn bowled Deonarine off the inside-edge for 65 to leave West Indies 151 for three.
But the Proteas met strong resistance, when Nash joined Chanderpaul, and they carried West Indies to tea on 236 for three.
After the break, the South Africans continued to wilt under the pressure, as Chanderpaul and Nash steadily regained the initiative for West Indies.
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.
South Africa 543 for 6 dec
West Indies 424 for 4 (Chanderpaul 151*, Nash 114, Deonarine 65, Morkel 2-87)
Status West Indies trail by 119 runs