| Brian Lara acknowledges applause after his double century at the Wanderers in Johannesburg on Monday. (AP)
Johannesburg: Brian Lara completed a brilliant double century on the fourth day of the first Test against South Africa on Monday but his team ended the day staring defeat in the face.
At the close of play, the tourists were languishing on 31 for three after South Africa had declared their second innings on 226 for six to set an unlikely victory target of 378.
Ramnaresh Sarwan was six not out with Lara yet to score after a devastating three-wicket burst by fast bowler Makhaya Ntini.
West Indies started the day on 363 for six but ended their first innings on 410 after Lara was out for 202. The left-hander batted more than seven hours and hit two sixes and 32 fours in his sixth Test double century. He was dropped on 15 by Shaun Pollock at first slip off Ntini.
West Indies lost an early wicket in their first innings when Ntini bowled Mervyn Dillon for 13. Chris Gayle, who batted with a runner because of a hamstring injury sustained while fielding, went next when he flashed at Ntini and was caught by Kallis at second slip for eight.
Lara drove fast bowler Andre Nel square through the covers for four to reach his double century but was caught by Martin van Jaarsveld at extra cover off the next delivery.
His innings sparkled with his full array of attacking strokes, mostly square of the wicket and struck with outrageous power and sublime timing.The innings ended when Fidel Edwards fell for a duck, steering a ball from Nel to Neil McKenzie in the gully.
South Africa lost their first wicket when Smith, who hit seven fours in his 44, was well caught low down by substitute fielder Dwayne Smith at backward point off Drakes.
South Africa scored more slowly after Smith’s dismissal, with fast bowler Corey Collymore conceding just five runs from his six overs.