South Africa 218 for 5 (Elgar 77, de Kock 59*, Gabriel 2-47) vs West Indies

Dean Elgar, in his second Test as permanent captain, top-scored with 77 as South Africa negotiated a tough batting day against a much-improved West Indian side. Facing a must-win situation to share the spoils in the series, the hosts' four-pronged pace attack made good use of the movement on offer in seamer-friendly conditions to make inroads into South Africa's line-up early on and kept their visitors relatively quiet, with a run rate that stayed under three an over throughout the day.

Shannon Gabriel, on his return from a hamstring injury that kept him out of the first Test, was the most successful bowler on the day. Gabriel was used in short bursts, never bowling more than four overs in a spell, and took 2 for 47. Kemar Roach, Jayden Seales and Kyle Mayers took one wicket apiece and Jason Holder, whose 14 overs cost just 25 runs, held an end even though he went wicketless.

Between them, the quicks reduced South Africa to 37 for 3 inside 18 overs before Elgar and Kyle Verreynne shared a fourth-wicket stand of 87. Verreynne was dismissed in the last over before tea but Elgar took South Africa to within three overs of the second new ball being due and put on 79 for the fifth-wicket with Quinton de Kock, the centurion from the first Test. de Kock remained unbeaten on 59 off 103, at a strike rate of 57.28, the quickest of the match so far.

Under cloudy skies and after morning rain, the toss was delayed and play eventually started 15 minutes late and was interrupted after three-and-a-half overs for another ten minutes by a passing shower. By then, South Africa had already lost their first batter. In the second over, Aiden Markram chased a short, wide delivery from Gabriel and was caught at backward point by Roston Chase. This was Markram's sixth Test duck and he equalled the most number of scoreless dismissals by any opener since his debut in September 2017.

Elgar shares that record with Markram and was at risk of going past him and departing for a second duck in the series. He was beaten twice by Roach and squared up by Gabriel before the rain break and went into it scoreless. But he returned to find his first runs with a boundary and battled through most of the rest of the day.

At the other end, Roach found Keegan Petersen's outside edge but the chance fell short of third slip. Petersen did not look comfortable against the moving ball and though he survived a stifled appeal for a catch down the leg side, he did not last long after the introduction of Seales. In his second Test, Seales struck with the first ball of his third over when he tempted Petersen into the drive off a ball that moved away from him. Petersen edged to Holder at second slip.

Elgar started to look more convincing when he drove Seales through mid-off but he was beaten by Holder's first ball, a beauty that pitched on middle and off and moved away then went back into his shell. He battled on, but Rassie van der Dussen couldn't. Roach, who had switched ends from when he opened the bowling, got the ball to move into van der Dussen several times in his sixth over to set him up, and then did the same with the third ball of his seventh when van ver Dussen shouldered arms and was bowled.

Verreynne stayed with Elgar until lunch and through most of the second session showing glimpses of the aggression he has become known for in domestic cricket. But he also had his nervy moments. He was beaten several times after that and survived an lbw review off Mayers, who surprised Verreynne with a ball that nipped back into him from outside off and hit him on the back pad. West Indies reviewed but ball-tracking showed it was going over the stumps.

Elgar had been watchful throughout that period but played a few shots in anger. He brought up South Africa's hundred with a flick off a Roach full toss and his own fifty when he top-edged a Gabriel short ball, which ended up being a no-ball, off the 146th delivery he faced.

Two overs later, Verreynne attempted a pull off Gabriel, who had returned for a pre-tea burst, but did not get hold of the ball as it swung down the leg side. He was given out caught behind and reviewed but UltraEdge confirmed Verreynne's bat had made contact.

de Kock picked up where he left off in the first Test and approached his innings positively. He punched a full Chase delivery between extra cover and mid-off, hit Gabriel through the covers and spurred Elgar on to some more aggressive strokes too. The captain pulled Seales through midwicket and drove Holder down the ground to enjoy some reward after an innings of mostly hard graft.

The pair seemed set to take South Africa to the close but in the 78th over, Mayers bowled Elgar with a delivery that came back into him and squeezed through the bat-pad gap. West Indies ended up not taking the second new ball instead opting to wait until the morning to make use of it, when conditions may again be ripe for swing. They'll look to repeat their first morning's performance but will also be aware of the number of extras they gave away on the first day - 42 - the third-highest scorer in the innings.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent