Sparkling hundreds by Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers on day one have placed the Proteas firmly in control of the first Test at Centurion.
There was a point in the first session when South Africa were in trouble at 57/3, before they recovered to a formidable 340/3. Alviro Petersen, Dean Elgar, and Faf du Plessis departed in quick succession. It was a situation that required a couple of cool heads, and fortunately for the Proteas, they had two of the best in the business at the crease.
Kemar Roach bowled well for the West Indies in the first session to remove Petersen and Du Plessis, but was less effective after lunch. The West Indies would suffer a significant blow after tea when Roach withdrew after sustaining an ankle injury. Following Roach’s departure, the fight seemed to leave the tourists.
That is not to say that the Proteas’ position at the end of day one was not hard earned. Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers worked hard to rebuild the South African innings. They were helped by some erratic West Indian bowling, and were seldom forced to play an aggressive stroke. Such was the inconsistency of the islanders’ bowling that Amla and De Villiers simply had to wait for the poor delivery.
Immediately after lunch, Roach thought that he had Amla when he struck the off stump of the Proteas captain. Unfortunately for the visitors, the bails failed to dislodge, and Amla remained at the crease.
It was a big moment in the match, not only because Amla was on 25 at that stage of the innings, but because the Proteas had very little experience to come at No 6 and 7. Had Amla departed at that point, the flow of the game may have been very different.
Amla and De Villiers continued to pile on the runs, and both would score their respective centuries shortly after tea. By the end of play on day one, their partnership for the fourth wicket had swelled to 283 runs – a South African record, surpassing the 249 put on by Jacques Kallis and Gary Kirsten against the Windies a decade ago.
The display by the South African batsmen is some response considering how play transpired in the morning session. Amla, De Villiers, and the rest of the South African batting lineup will surely attempt to bat West Indies out of the game on day two.
What will make the Windies’ task more difficult is the fact that the injured Roach may be sidelined and unable to contribute for the remainder of the game. The outlook for the tourists is bleak.
DAY ONE SCORECARD
SA 1st innings – 340/3 (Amla 133*, de Villiers 141*, Roach 2/52.)