Ashwell Prince halted a South African slide on the second day in Cape Town after Dwayne Bravo's three wickets left them facing the prospect of a significant deficit. However, West Indies produced a resilient effort to stay in contention, as Bravo put in a marathon 24-over spell, but Prince and Boucher added an unbeaten 87 to put South Africa back on course for a useful lead.
It's been a long while since West Indies have found themselves ahead in a series and for the majority of the day they were without Fidel Edwards, who was forced off the field after pulling up with a hamstring strain five balls into his fifth over. To compound the problems Jerome Taylor also left the field later in the day, severely cutting into Chris Gayle's resources, at a time when South Africa were ripe for the taking at 131 for 5 following Bravo's successes which included Jacques Kallis and Hashim Amla in eight balls. Gayle's hand was forced when Bravo eventually needed a break - his 24 overs only broken by lunch and tea - and he used the spin of Rawl Lewis and Marlon Samuels in tandem during the final session.
This allowed South Africa to claw back ground with Prince and Boucher putting their head down for some hard graft. Prince's fifty took 129 balls as he made a vital contribution following a lean period although boundaries were a rare commodity as the outfield remained slow and the pitch tough for scoring. One delivery from Powell burst through the surface to suggest batting last will be a tricky proposition.
It reinforced the feeling that West Indies' total wasn't as disappointing as it appeared and would have been worth closer to 300 with a quicker outfield. Shivnarine Chanderpaul was left unbeaten on 65 off 223 balls when Andre Nel cleaned up the innings in the first three overs of the day.
South Africa were given a stronger start than of late with Graeme Smith and Neil McKenzie adding 46 - the first double-figure opening stand of the home season - but none of the top four could build on their starts. Taylor helped take up the slack after Edwards's departure with a lively spell either side of lunch which brought two wickets. McKenzie was drawn forward outside off stump and the delivery held its line to take the edge and Gayle completed a regulation catch. McKenzie hadn't been overawed during his first Test innings in three-and-half years, but his demise for 23 set a trend.
Smith was far from convincing, always giving the impression that he was close to being trapped lbw or edging to slip, and fell in predictable style as he pushed away from his body. The catch would probably have carried to first slip, but Ramdin dived across and made sure of the scalp.
With Amla and Kallis adding 59 for the third wicket South Africa were making strong progress towards taking control and Kallis was beginning to look especially dangerous. The breakthrough came when he was caught on the back foot and edged through to Ramdin, soon followed by Amla who was trapped on the crease by a delivery that shaped back in.
Refreshed by the tea interval, Bravo continued to make inroads when he found AB de Villiers' outside edge and three wickets had fallen for 11 in 10 overs. Last week in Port Elizabeth, Bravo savoured his first Test victory and did more than his fair share to try and ensure the wait for number two isn't as long. His nagging length and accuracy - he conceded less than two-an-over - were ideally suited to a two-paced surface. One more strike and West Indies would have been into the long tail with South Africa's prospects of levelling the series fading. Now, though, this is anyone's game and an intriguing battle lies ahead.