AB, Amla floor Windies
CENTURION, South Africa (AP):
AB de Villiers and Hashim Amla plundered centuries for South Africa as the West Indies made poor use of favourable bowling conditions on day one of the first cricket Test at Centurion yesterday.
After winning the toss and electing to bowl on the back of some morning rain, the West Indies only once managed to spark, with Kemar Roach inspiring a mid-morning frenzy that saw South Africa lose three wickets without adding a run.
Erratic bowling allowed Amla and De Villiers to take complete control thereafter, and they batted out the rest of the day in an unbroken 283-run partnership that carried the Proteas to the close of play on 340-3.
De Villiers reached stumps on 141 while Amla was 133 not out. They will have the opportunity to extend a record partnership for the fourth wicket for South Africa, having already surpassed Jacques Kallis' and Gary Kirsten's against the same opposition in 2003.
"They're quite tired at the moment," South Africa coach Russell Domingo said. "We haven't played Test cricket in five months so I think batting for 75 overs or so has taken a lot out of them both physically and mentally."
The day's play was delayed by half an hour because of the wet conditions, giving the West Indies a chance to make early inroads after captain Denesh Ramdin had called correctly at the toss.
He handed the new ball to Jerome Taylor and Sheldon Cottrell, but the fast-bowling pair wasted the opportunity as South Africa openers Alviro Petersen and Dean Elgar raced to 57 without loss.
iffy South African
"The team plan was for me to bowl a good enough length to disturb the batsmen with the inswinger, because it's been said that South Africa are a bit iffy against the left-armers," Cottrell said.
"It was definitely moving quite a bit for me early on, but I didn't have the control to hurt the top order."
However, the introduction of Roach changed things, as he had Petersen caught at slip for 27 in his third over, and then dismissed Faf du Plessis for a duck in his fourth.
With Elgar caught at gully for 28 off the bowling of Cottrell, a trio of wicket maidens put the home side on the back foot.
The West Indies was unable to maintain the pressure though, offering a generous number of poor deliveries that Amla and De Villiers regularly sent to the boundary.
They took South Africa to lunch on 102-3, with only a minor scare when a Roach delivery shaved Amla's off-stump but did not disturb the bails, and then added 123 runs in 30 overs during a productive afternoon session.
De Villiers went to his 20th Test hundred shortly after the tea break, taking just 138 balls to reach the mark. Amla's century was his 23rd in Test cricket.
Things became worse for the West Indies in the final session when Roach limped off with an ankle injury, and was sent for scans to determine the extent of the injury.