South Africa stood on the brink of an historic 5-0 rout of the West Indies at the close of the third day of the fifth Test yesterday.
Set an improbable 569 to win after South Africa declared their second innings at 399 for five, West Indies were 18 for one at the close and needing to survive a further two days to avoid the first 5-0 defeat in a five-Test series in their history. South Africa have never triumphed by such a margin.
Jonty Rhodes scored the fastest century by a South African in terms of balls faced, hammering an undefeated 103 off 95 balls in 104 minutes. He hit six sixes and six fours.
Opener Gary Kirsten also struck a century, though at a more sedate pace. His 134 was made in 7-1/2 hours, off 305 balls, and included 15 fours.
The major partnerships were 107 for the fourth wicket by Kirsten and Hansie Cronje, who scored 58, and the 115 put on by Kirsten and Rhodes for the fifth.
The West Indies, called on to face 10 overs before the close, lost their first wicket to the fourth ball of the innings when Philo Wallace, on four, gloved a leg-side delivery from Allan Donald to wicketkeeper Mark Boucher.
At stumps, Darren Ganga was on four and Shivnarine Chanderpaul on eight.
Kirsten's chanceless hundred was on the board midway through the second session after 5-3/4 hours, garnered from 253 deliveries and including 12 fours.
Rhodes hit the last of his sixes to reach his century, which was followed immediately by the declaration.
His only error came when, on 52, he pulled Nixon McLean to fine leg where substitute fielder Rawl Lewis spilled the catch and sent the ball over the boundary for what the third umpire ruled as a six.
South Africa resumed their second innings on 100 for one but West Indies' slim hopes of staving off defeat had been dashed by news that Courtney Walsh would not bowl again in the match after injuring his right knee and hamstring on Saturday.
In the absence of the veteran fast bowler, who took six for 80 in the first innings, the West Indian attack posed no threat and the four wickets which fell on Sunday were the result of batting errors.from Mark Williams.