Harare – Faf du Plessis and Quinton de Kock missed out on centuries as South Africa advanced to 334 for seven at tea on day three of the one-off Test against Zimbabwe on Monday.
Du Plessis was out for 98 shortly before the lunch interval while De Kock was dismissed for 81 during the afternoon session, which stunted South Africa's progress as they built a lead over Zimbabwe's first innings score of 256 all out.
The Proteas added just 10 runs in a 16-over period prior to tea, as JP Duminy and Vernon Philander showed an unwillingness to counter Zimbabwe's defensive tactics.
Philander was bowled by Sean Williams on the stroke of tea, having scored 17 from 87 deliveries, while Duminy was unbeaten on 28 from 95 deliveries.
South Africa had showed greater intent in the morning when Du Plessis and De Kock were at the wicket.
Although the pair took their time adapting to the pace of the pitch early on, scoring 11 runs in the first eight overs of the day, they gradually took the attack to the Zimbabwean bowlers.
The hosts responded to that pressure by offering up some loose deliveries, allowing South Africa a relatively profitable 77 runs from the session.
That compared favourably to their progress on Sunday, when they scored 201 for four in 84 overs, and to the 56 they added in 30
overs during Monday afternoon's session.
The 119-run partnership between Du Plessis and De Kock was broken when the right-hander was caught off the bowling of John Nyumbu to fall agonisingly short of three figures.
Meanwhile De Kock was dismissed by Williams, who had figures of 2 for 82. – Sapa-AFP