JP Duminy and Hashim Amla built a partnership 0f 148 as the Proteas piled up 193-2 at tea on day one of the third Test against Sri Lanka at the Wanderers
Duminy played with a freedom and ease from the outset to run up 86, while Amla, in his 100th Test, struggled to get into his rhythm. But once he found his groove, he stepped up the pace to reach his first fifty in 11 innings, with seven fours among the 109 balls he faced.
Amla was dropped on five in the over before lunch and struggled again after the break, facing 23 balls in which there was just one scoring stroke (although it was a wonderful drive for four). But he gradually settled down and the arrival of Rangana Herath unleashed the Amla of old. He danced down the wicket to lift the left-arm spinner over mid-on for four and then drove him to long-on. His first 10 runs came off 49 balls, the next 40 came off 60.
They have solidly repaired the damage after the Proteas lost two wickets in five balls when on 45 in the morning session just when the openers had seemingly embedded themselves on a lively wicket.
Stephen Cook, on 10 off 41 balls, was the first to go, lbw to Angelo Mathews, while Dean Elgar (27 off 54) was taken at first slip after playing a bizarre half-shot, a cross between a cut and a back-foot drive, at a rising ball from Lahiru Kumara.
Cook, in his first Test on his home ground, was ill-advised to review his decision, being so low and plumb. There was a more searching question as to whether Lakmal had overstepped, but he made it with millimetres to spare.
Elgar had also got away with a couple of searching deliveries, one of which sneaked through on the inside, and another off a thin edge which dropped short of the slips. Otherwise, they were largely untroubled, and the Sri Lankans wasted more than a few with deliveries, bowling too wide to tempt the bat.
The openers had played so carefully to that point after Faf du Plessis had declared his faith in his batting line-up on a greenish wicket under a generous cloud cover. It was more the thought that the slightly cracked wicket would deteriorate that probably influenced his decision.
Despite the fact that the Proteas seem to be well set for a great total, it was nonetheless a questionable choice, given that the Proteas had elected to go with a four-prong pace attack, handing Knights paceman Duanne Olivier his first cap.
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