Port Elizabeth: Fast bowlers Daren Powell and Jerome Taylor struck hard at the South African top order as the tourists took control on the second day of the first Test at St George's Park Thursday.
South Africa crashed to 122 for five at close of play in reply to a West Indian total of 408 in which Shivarine Chanderpaul made a patient century.
Powell took three for 40 and Taylor two for 28 as South Africa were left with their last two recognised batsmen, AB de Villiers and Mark Boucher, at the crease.
While South Africa's bowlers were notably unable to strike with the new ball after the West Indies were sent in to bat Wednesday, their West Indian counterparts were on the mark almost immediately.
Powell struck with the fifth ball of the innings when Herschelle Gibbs edged a catch to wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin.
South Africa captain Graeme Smith made an aggressive 28 but was then trapped palpably leg before wicket when he played across a full delivery from Taylor.
In his next over, Taylor claimed the prize wicket of Jacques Kallis, who had made five centuries in his previous four Test matches.
Kallis failed to score before he tried to withdraw his bat from a lifting delivery by Taylor but instead steered a catch to third slip.
Powell came back for a second spell, changing ends, and with his first ball sent Hashim Amla's middle stump flying with a superb yorker. Amla had looked in good form in making 29 off 30 balls.
Ashwell Prince and De Villiers put on 33 for the fifth wicket and seemed to have steadied the innings until Powell struck again three balls after a drinks interval when Prince edged a catch to second slip.
At that stage, half South Africa's batsmen had been dismissed for 96.
Boucher was hit on the gloves by a bouncer from Powell but he and De Villiers survived until the close when South Africa, who started the match as hot favourites, still needed 87 runs to avoid the follow on.
Chanderpaul made 104 for the West Indies before he was ninth man out, bowled by Andre Nel after a patient vigil which lasted 398 minutes during which he faced 254 balls and hit 12 fours.
It was Chanderpaul's 17th Test century and his fourth against South Africa. He also made his seventh consecutive score of 50 or better, equalling a world Test record set by fellow West Indian Everton Weekes in 1948 and 1949 and repeated by Andy Flower of Zimbabwe in 2000 and 2001.
Fast bowlers Makhaya Ntini and Nel took three wickets each but none of the South African bowlers found any of the help in the pitch that Smith expected when he won the toss Wednesday.
Ntini, armed with the second new ball, made two early strikes for South Africa on the second morning before Chanderpaul and Darren Sammy came together in a seventh wicket stand of 71.
Chanderpaul's sequence started when he made 69 against Pakistan in Karachi in November 2006 and continued when he had scores of 74, 50, 116 not out, 136 not out and 70 in a series in England earlier this year.
He was finally bowled by an excellent delivery from Nel, bowling around the wicket. The ball angled in to the left-hander and straightened off the pitch.