The Proteas lost a further two wickets in the second session to go into tea on 146-4 on day one of the first Test.
Hashim Amla’s blitz in the first session allowed the Proteas to go into lunch on 94-2, and the second session followed a similar pattern to the first as two quick wickets set the hosts back, before a gutsy response from Temba Bavuma and Faf du Plessis got them back on track.
Amla was cruising on 42 off 41 balls, and fittingly, a 10th boundary took him to 15 000 first-class runs. The joy was short-lived as Pretoria-born left-arm seamer Neil Wagner picked up his first wicket of the match. JP Duminy, promoted to No 4, could only contribute 14 as he mistimed a pull shot that went straight down Trent Boult’s throat at fine leg. His 14 was, however, amongst a very useful 62-run stand with Amla.
The runs were flowing for Amla and it looked like he was well-set for a big score to add to his four centuries against the Kiwis, but he only lasted a few more overs, as Boult came back into the attack to nip one back and find Amla’s inside edge to walk back to the hut for 53.
With the Proteas on 106-4 there were growing concerns surrounding the decision to bat first, as the unpredictable Kingsmead conditions offered late swing to the likes of Boult and Doug Bracewell and movement off the surface for Tim Southee and Wagner. The new batsmen at the crease, interim skipper Du Plessis (18) and Bavuma (22), knuckled down and went about their work cautiously but appropriately. They added 40 more runs to the board, to leave the match fairly square at this stage.
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