Dean Elgar found solid support in Kyle Verreynne in lifting South Africa from the discomfort of 37 for three to 125 for four at tea after they were put into bat on the opening day of the second Test of the two-match series against the West Indies on Friday.
Elgar’s disciplined, unbeaten 53 off 155 balls was exactly what was required of the Proteas captain after three wickets had gone down in a rain-interrupted morning session under grey skies and on a seaming pitch.
Verreynne, who missed out on a score of note in his debut innings a week earlier, doubled down with his effort as the West Indies bowlers stuck to their plan of attack on a brighter afternoon.
They were thwarted by the compact right-hander who eventually fell in the final over before tea for 27, getting a faint touch to an attempted hook off Shannon Gabriel for wicketkeeper Joshua da Silva to take the catch down the leg-side.
His partnership with Elgar was worth 87 runs for the fourth wicket.
Quinton de Kock, who blazed a Test-best unbeaten 141 in the first Test, will resume with his captain in the final session.
Heavily criticized after choosing to bat first on a seaming pitch in the first Test at the same venue, home captain Kraigg Brathwaite did not hesitate to bowl first on winning the toss again.
It proved justified with Gabriel, who missed the first Test through injury, relative newcomer Jayden Seales and senior seamer Kemar Roach taking a wicket.
Gabriel had labored through two Test matches for just one wicket against Sri Lanka in the previous series three months earlier on placid pitches in Antigua.
However, he enjoyed immediate success on Friday with Aiden Markram slashing at a short, wide delivery before he had scored to give Roston Chase a comfortable catch at backward-point.
Keegan Petersen attempted to settle down in partnership with Elgar but then edged a full-length delivery from Seales for former captain Jason Holder to snare the catch at second slip.
Rassie van der Dussen labored to get bat on ball and then fell to his own error of judgement, offering no shot to Roach only for his off stump to be knocked back.
South Africa retained the same team which thrashed the home side by an innings and 63 runs inside three days in the first Test.
However West Indies drafted in Gabriel in place of specialist off-spinner Rahkeem Cornwall.
Opening batsman Kieran Powell, who was a concussion substitute for middle-order batsman Nkrumah Bonner, retained his place in the team.
West Indies must win this match to avoid an eighth consecutive Test series defeat to the Proteas since pulling off victory in their historic first-ever Test match encounter, a one-off meeting in Barbados in 1992.