PORT ELIZABETH, South Africa (AP) AB de Villiers’ 126 not out pushed South Africa’s lead over Australia to 139 runs in the second test at St. George’s Park on Sunday.
De Villiers’ 22nd test century, set up on Day 2 and completed early on Day 3, took South Africa to 382 all out in its first innings in reply to Australia’s 243.
The South Africa No. 4 put his team in control after it was 183-6 on Saturday afternoon. Australia leads the four-test series after winning the first match in Durban.
In Port Elizabeth, De Villiers was the anchor in late partnerships of 44 with Quinton de Kock, 84 with Vernon Philander (36) and 58 off just 43 balls with Keshav Maharaj (30) to keep South Africa going.
The 34-year-old de Villiers, one of the best players of his generation, is nearing the end of his test career and there’s speculation that this might even be his last series.
He hit 20 fours and a six in his century, going to 100 with a boundary down to third man. He reached 100 off just 117 balls, a free-flowing innings that made batting look much easier than it really was, especially with the ball reverse swinging on Day 2.
De Villiers also passed 8,500 test runs during the innings, the fourth South African after Jacques Kallis, Graeme Smith and Hashim Amla to do that. This was de Villiers’ first test century since January 2015 having taken nearly two years out of test cricket in an effort to prolong his career. He returned to tests late last year.
Dean Elgar and Amla made half-centuries on the second day to contribute to South Africa’s total. Pat Cummins was Australia’s best bowler with 3-79.