Hashim Amla scored 208 and Stiaan van Zyl an undefeated 101 as South Africa posted 552-5 declared on day two of the Test at Centurion.
The South African captain will be a happy man. His contributions over the past two days have been game- and indeed series-defining.
Amla proved the perfect foil to AB de Villiers during a 308-run partnership for the fourth-wicket, and was equally composed in the subsequent 155-run stand with the debutant, Van Zyl.
Amla broke several records with that individual score of 208. It’s the highest score by a Proteas captain in South Africa, as well as the highest by a South African in a Test against the West Indies.
And yet, Amla will be more pleased by the fact that South Africa amassed a total as formidable as 552-5. Amla declared shortly before tea, and the Proteas are now in a fantastic position to win this match and take a 1-0 lead in the three-game series.
Another pleasing aspect of South Africa’s innings was the performance of Van Zyl. The newcomer took 11 balls to score his first run, and was fortunate to be dropped on two by Kraigg Brathwaite. That was, however, the last time that Van Zyl looked rattled.
The left-handed batsman played some confident shots en route to 50, and raced to his maiden Test century in just 129 balls. The West Indies were guilty of bowling too short and wide during this period, but credit to Van Zyl, he proved he was good enough to capitalise.
Amla declared shortly before tea, hoping that his bowlers would enjoy a crack at the West Indies openers before the interval. Unfortunately, the umpires decided to take tea early. The storm clouds hovering around Centurion for most of the day then erupted, and the heavy rain meant an end to the day’s play.
West Indies will need to score 353 in their first innings to ensure South Africa bat again. The hosts will be looking to take 20 wickets over the next three days.
Because of the time lost on day two, the first session of day three at Centurion will commence at 10:00.
SA 1st innings – 552-5 dec (Hashim Amla 208, AB de Villiers 152, Stiaan van Zyl 101no, Kemar Roach 2-52).
WI 1st Innings – 0-0