Smith hundred puts sloppy West Indies on the back foot
It was another day of attrition which offered little out-and-out entertainment - 188 runs and three wickets came from 90 overs - but it was one which belonged entirely to South Africa. By the close, the balance of the game had noticeably shifted away from West Indies. The unbeaten seventh-wicket stand of 67 between Ashwell Prince and Mark Boucher was psychologically vital.
The hero of the day was Smith, whose innings was crucial and whose determined concentration never wavered until his dismissal the ball after the afternoon drinks break. He patiently ground down the bowlers, with only the occasional cracking drive or pull to emphasise that he could attack if he wanted. His only wobbly moments came when West Indies took the second new ball before lunch and he wafted at a few balls slanted across him. But the pitch was not conducive to flamboyance, and Smith realised the importance of not being asked to do too much in the fourth innings on a surface which would only deteriorate.
Even when he was finally dismissed, West Indies failed to capitalise. That has been their failing with the ball in this match. Breakthroughs have not been exploited. As the day wore on, Herschelle Gibbs, Prince and Boucher all chipped away, frustrating a West Indies attack that contributed considerably to its own difficulties.
Smith and Monde Zondeki, the nightwatchman, added 41 for the fourth wicket. In truth, Zondeki was rarely troubled and the ease with which he survived probably contributed to his demise and he played round a good inswinger from Pedro Collins for 14.
That brought in Gibbs who was subdued by any standards, comatose by his own. The post-lunch period continued the pattern of the morning with South Africa making slow progress and West Indies looking bereft of ideas. The crowd slumbered and even the usually boisterous Carib Beer girls gave up trying to get the spectators enthused.
But the drinks interval proved to be Smith's undoing as his seven-and-a bit-hour vigil was ended by the combination of an unconventional bowling change and a straight ball. Chanderpaul, in his one inspired moment, brought Wavell Hinds on to bowl. His first ball was medium-paced and straight, Smith played all round it and was trapped plumb in front. Smith departed openly muttering and tutting, but that was probably more to do with the manner of the dismissal than the decision. He made a gutsy 148.
With West Indies' bowlers struggling, every chance had to be taken, and it was harder for Donovan Pagon at midwicket to drop a mistimed hook from Prince off King than it was for him to catch it, but he managed. That seemed to finally deflate the already punctured West Indies, and Prince and Boucher had enough confidence to crack a few sublime drives as the shadows lengthened.
As West Indies left the field their bowlers had to hope that Bennett King had not taken a leaf out of Ray Jennings's book or it would have been cold baths all round.
AB de Villiers c Chanderpaul b King 33 (70 for 1)
Drove uppishly to cover
Jacques Rudolph c Browne b Bravo 8 (86 for 2)
Flashed faintest of outside edges
Jacques Kallis lbw Bravo 39 (181 for 3)
Defeated by inswinger and trapped plumb
Monde Zondeki b Collins 14 (222 for 4)
Played round an inswinger and lost middle stump
Graeme Smith lbw b Wavell Hinds 148 (274 for 5)
Plumb leg-before to gentle, straight ball straight after drinks
Herschelle Gibbs b Collins 34 (303 for 6)
No chance of keeping out a shooter which took off stump