Cronje was instrumental in Free State scoring 272 runs in a two and a half hour final session of the penultimate day, leaving his side just 26 runs short of victory. Free State, dismissed for 67 in their first innings, will resume at 412 for 8 today.
Cronje's 29th first-class century included 13 fours and six sixes. He was so dominant in an unbroken ninth-wicket stand with Johan van der Wath that his partner's share of the 109-run partnership was a mere nine runs. If some of the middle order had not given their wickets away with some injudicious stroke selection, Free State might be even better off than they are now.
During Cronje's explosive innings he sent the substitute fielder, Floyd Reifer, to hospital for X-rays after a full-blooded pull struck the Barbadian on the back of his helmet as he turned away at short leg.
The touring team, who claimed the extra half hour in an attempt to end the match a day early, had slumped earlier in the day from 112 for 2 overnight to 188 all out half an hour before lunch.
The innings fell apart after a third-wicket stand of 89 between Clayton Lambert, who made 54, and Stuart Williams (52) had been broken, and at one stage five wickets fell in the space of 14 deliveries for just two runs.
The promising fast bowler Van der Wath profited handsomely, taking 5 for 26 to register his first five-wicket haul in only his fourth first- class match.
Third day of four; West Indies won toss
WEST INDIES - First Innings 316 (C B Lambert 67, C L Hooper 64).
FREE STATE - First Innings 67.
WEST INDIES - Second Innings
(Overnight: 112 for 2)
C B Lambert c Venter b Mpitsang 54
S C Williams b Bakkes 52
R D Jacobs lbw b Cronje 19
S Chanderpaul c Liebenberg
b Van der Wath 12
C L Hooper lbw b Van der Wath 2
N A M McLean b Van der Wath 0
C E L Ambrose b Cronje 1
M Dillon c Van Wyk b Cronje 0
D Ramnarine not out 8
Extras (b1, lb7, w3, nb1) 12
Fall (cont): 3-130, 4-146, 5-176, 6-177, 7-177, 8-178, 9-178.
Bowling: Bakkes 13-3-32-1; Mpitsang 13-2-52-1 (w1, nb1); Van der Wath 10.1-2-26-5 (w2); Cronje 14-6-23-3; Venter 13-2-28-0; Boje 9-3-19-0.
FREE STATE - Second Innings
K Venter b Hooper 53
G F J Liebenberg c Jacobs b Ambrose 26
H H Dippenaar run out 82
L J Wilkinson lbw b Dillon 27
*W J Cronje not out 147
M N Van Wyk c McLean b Ramnarine 20
N Boje c Williams b Ramnarine 6
J Beukes b Hooper 22
H C Bakkes c & b Ramnarine 13
J J Van der Wath not out 9
Extras (b1, w2, nb4) 7
Total (for 8) 412
Fall: 1-51, 2-106, 3-192, 4-195, 5-232, 6-251, 7-285, 8-303.
To bat: V P Mpitsang.
Bowling (to date): Ambrose 12-3-27-1 (nb2); McLean 11-1-51-0 (w1); Dillon 15-0-89-1 (w1, nb1); Lambert 2-0-13-0; Hooper 14-1-77-2; Ramnarine 29- 7-138-3 (nb1); Chanderpaul 2-0-16-0.Reuse content