Quinton de Kock's sparkling sixth Test ton carried South Africa to a very strong 322 all out at tea on the second day of the first Test against the West Indies in St Lucia on Friday.
SCORECARD | West Indies v Proteas - 1st Test
The 100, his first in 12 Tests and 19 innings since October 2019 against India, allowed South Africa to establish a strong lead of 225.
The innings (141*), his highest Test score, was much needed, not just for the team, but for him. It was De Kock's first 50-plus knock in eight innings and his first score of 30-plus in the same timeframe.
It was a welcome return to form and one that has put the Proteas into a commanding position. De Kock has long been a master of manipulating the strike when batting with the tail. It showed as he scored runs at will and limited the tailenders to two balls each over.
With wickets falling around him at regular intervals, it had to be incumbent on him to push on the run rate.
That he did as South Africa scored 117 runs in the 24.5 overs allowed to them in the slightly extended session.
Resuming in 205/5 from the lunch break, 10 runs were added to the total before Wiaan Mulder (25) feathered a Jason Holder (4/75) delivery to Joshua Da Silva.
Their 53-run stand of 109 balls was a very good platform that allowed De Kock to settle in and reach his 50 of 98 balls with six fours.
De Kock then had to watch Keshav Maharaj (0) being smartly snaffled by Kieron Powell at short-leg off Rahkeem Cornwall (1/61) while Kagiso Rabada (4) guided a Kemar Roach (2/64) delivery to Holder at second slip to leave South Africa struggling at 233/8.
De Kock immediately recognised the danger and opportunity of SA's position and immediately moved to attack the bowling.
The productive 79-run ninth-wicket stand with Anrich Nortje saw the paceman only contributing seven of the runs in the 75 balls.
De Kock reached the landmark with his third six off Jayden Seales in just 148 balls, meaning De Kock needed just 49 balls for his second 50.
There were 11 fours and three sixes in De Kock's innings and the life he received on 118 when he was caught off a Holder no-ball summed up the controlled carefree nature of the innings.
Nortje was bounced out by Holder, but a further 10 runs were added before Ngidi became Holder's fourth scalp.