• Amla: Wasn’t easy to knuckle down

    Captain Hashim Amla emerged the proud recipient of a fine century, as South Africa climbed to a superb score of 340 for three on day one of the first Test against the West Indies in Centurion on Wednesday.

    The Proteas suffered the relatively early losses of openers Alviro Petersen and Dean Elgar – and the talented Faf du Plessis – after visiting skipper Denesh Ramdin won the toss and opted to bowl first on a pitch affected by overnight moisture – and conducive to swing and seam.

    The number one-ranked team in the longest format of the international game were in trouble against opposition seven positions inferior in the International Cricket Council rankings, before Hashim Amla and fellow right-hander AB de Villiers amassed an unbroken 283-run alliance.

    ‘Fortunately we got a partnership going because we were in early trouble at 50-odd for three. The West Indian guys bowled well up front and it wasn’t easy to knuckle down,’ said Amla.

    ‘It was quite basic, really. We had to hang in there as long as possible and leave the ball well because there was a bit of juice in the wicket and the ball was shaping quite a bit. We just tried to hang in there and fortunately we got a partnership going and the wicket flattened out a bit in the second and third session and we managed to capitalise.’

    The record stand weighed in as the country’s highest for the fourth wicket in the longest format of the international game, surpassing the 249 gathered by the veteran Jacques Kallis and Gary Kirsten – against the West Indians in Durban a decade ago.

    The 31-year-old Amla and 30-year-old De Villiers will resume on 133 not out and 141 not out respectively on Thursday.

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