Cricket Australia Items/news/2013/2/23/proteas-dominate-first-day

Proteas dominate first day

UPDATED 23 February, 2013 1:23PM AEST |

AB de Villiers and Hashim Amla fell just short of centuries on Friday as South Africa finished day one of the third Test against Pakistan at 6-334.

With the Proteas leading the three-match series 2-0, the clash at Centurion is effectively a dead rubber.

But that did not stop South Africa impressing again as a late fightback saw them take full control of the match thanks to the efforts of de Villiers and Amla.

While Amla was dismissed for 92, the South African wicketkeeper can still make his century, ending the day on 98 not out.

The hosts won the toss and elected to bat although openers Alviro Petersen (10) and Graeme Smith (five) were sent packing quickly.

Petersen lasted less than four overs, trapped lbw by Rahat Ali (3-95 off 20 overs), before Smith fell to debutant Ehsan Adil (2-54 off 12.1).

The 19-year-old claimed the wicket with his third ball in Test cricket as Smith edged to Younis Khan at second slip.

Faf du Plessis (29) restored order, joining Amla as the pair added 66 runs before lunch to take the hosts to 104-2.

Just moments after lunch though, du Plessis became Adil's second victim when we was caught behind by wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed.

Amla was scoring very freely and hit 13 boundaries in his 128-ball innings, regularly dispatching the bad balls he was offered.

Pakistan spinner Saeed Ajmal (0-70 off 26) struggled to have an impact, placing extra onus and responsibility on their inexperienced pace attack.

And although they wilted slightly, the wicket of Amla was a big one, with Rahat snaring him caught behind just eight runs short of a 20th Test century.

Dean Elgar (seven) came and went quickly, another Rahat victim, this time lbw, as the Proteas slumped to 196-5.

Spinner Robin Peterson (28) played second fiddle to de Villiers, who was superb, but just after their partnership reached 50 they were undone by a superb piece of fielding from gangly paceman Mohammad Irfan.

Irfan threw down the stumps at the non-striker's end after a mid-pitch mix-up and with Ajmal struggling, Pakistan would have been delighted to have South Africa 6-248.

But they did not count on a fine and unbeaten 86-run partnership for the seventh wicket between de Villiers and paceman Vernon Philander (45 not out).

The pair took their side past 300 and they are now on the verge of an imposing total on a pitch that has offered a bit to the seamers. 

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia

First Posted 23 February, 2013 9:00AM AEST

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