South Africa won the toss and sent the West Indies in to bat on the first day of the first Test at St George's Park.
West Indian captain Chris Gayle was passed fit to play and captained the West Indies for the first time.
South Africa fielded an unchanged team for the fifth successive Test match. They have won three of their four previous matches, one against Pakistan and two against New Zealand.
Gayle was a doubtful starter because of a hamstring injury until shortly before the match. After some light jogging and a discussion with coach John Dyson it was decided he would play.
The pitch had a reasonable covering of grass and there was expected to be some early moisture near the surface after several showers of rain during the days leading up to the match.
South Africa: Graeme Smith (captain), Herschelle Gibbs, Hashim Amla, Jacques Kallis, Ashwell Prince, AB de Villiers, Mark Boucher, Andre Nel, Paul Harris, Dale Steyn, Makhaya Ntini, Shaun Pollock.
West Indies: Chris Gayle (captain), Daren Ganga, Runako Morton, Marlon Samuels, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Dwayne Bravo, Denesh Ramdin, Darren Sammy, Fidel Edwards, Jerome Taylor, Daren Powell.
Umpires: Aleem Dar (PAK), Russell Tiffin (ZIM).
TV umpire: Rudi Koertzen (RSA).
Match referee: Roshan Mahanama (SRI).