South Africa 370 for 6 (Smith 148, Prince 41*) lead West Indies 347 by 23 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball
How they were out

Graeme Smith celebrates his ninth Test hundred © Getty Images
Graeme Smith's ninth Test hundred helped put South Africa, who finished on 370 for 6, a lead of 23, in a strong position at the end of the third day at Port of Spain.

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.

Ashwell Prince ducks into a bouncer from Dwayne Bravo © Getty Images
The morning produced 56 runs from 24 overs. Even the purists struggled for positives, but West Indies' bowlers looked listless and never really appeared to get out of second gear. None of the seamers managed to apply any sustained pressure and there was more aggression in evidence in the queues at the bars. Most worrying was that Shivnarine Chanderpaul seemed unable to rally his troops and often looked more lost than those he was supposed to be leading.

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.

A rare moment of aggression from Herschelle Gibbs © Getty Images
But again South Africa stood firm. Gibbs defensive intention finally cracked and he lofted Chris Gayle for a straight six. It caught Aleem Dar on the hop and he briefly seemed to have forgotten how to signal that rarity. But Gibbs was eventually undone by the pitch, Collins producing a ball which barely rose above shin height and which shot under Gibbs's bat and into his off stump. That was a sign that the surface was beginning to go, and soon after Ashwell Prince ducked a bouncer which clattered into his helmet after barely rising above waist height.

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.

South Africa

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