Basseterre, St Kitts:Graeme Smith collected his 21st Test hundred to lead a strong South Africa batting performance in the second Test against West Indies on Friday.
Smith struck nine fours and three sixes from 189 balls in just over five hours as the South Africans, electing to bat, reached 296 for three in their first innings when bad light stopped play 15 minutes early on the opening day at Warner Park.
The left-handed opener gained admirable support from Alviro Petersen (52), Jacques Kallis (45 not out ) and Hashim Amla (44).
"That was the key for us, to start this Test match well and not to fall into a complacent mindset at the back-end of the tour," said Smith.
"We have done this, and set up a good first day for us, and hopefully (on Saturday) we can build on it."
Smith swept part-time off-spinner Narsingh Deonarine to fine leg for three to reach his milestone.
The Proteas' captain also became the third South African batsman to pass 7,000 Test runs, when he lofted Deonarine for a pair of sixes over long-on to move from 81 to 93.
Only Kallis, currently on 10,956 runs in his 139th Test, and former opener Gary Kirsten, with 7,289 at 43.65 in 101 Tests, have scored more runs for South Africa than Smith.
"Confidence is a crucial thing in this game, and I have been working hard through the limited-overs matches, following the lengthy break I had with a broken finger," Smith said.
"It has taken me some time to get the feel back in the game, even though it still hinders me a little bit, but it's had some ice now, and it feels much better now that I have got some big runs on the board."
Kallis gave the Proteas another reason to celebrate when he became Test cricket's sixth-highest scorer, when he drove Sulieman Benn through cover for his second four.
He moved in front of Steve Waugh (10,927), with another Australia captain Allan Border (11,174) just ahead of him.
Smith shared three successive half-century stands, as South Africa's batsmen dominated the toothless West Indies attack, which was led by off-spinner Shane Shillingford with two wickets for 91 runs from 31 overs.
Smith put on 99 for the first wicket with Alviro Petersen, shared 112 for the second wicket with Hashim Amla, and then added 72 for the third wicket with Kallis before Kemar Roach bowled him, when he dragged a short ball into his stumps.
Smith was fortunate to have escaped a couple of near misses, before and after he reached his hundred.
On 79, he swept Shillingford to square leg, where Shivnarine Chanderpaul failed to hold a high chance, and on 112 he played defensively forward and edged the same bowler, but wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin failed to make a catch.