PRETORIA, (Reuters) – Captain Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers shared a record unbroken double-century stand as South Africa took control of the first test against West Indies on the opening day at Centurion today.
South Africa were rocked as West Indies took three wickets for no runs with the score on 57 but Amla and de Villiers took the bowling apart as the hosts ended on 340 for three.
After coming together with the hosts teetering at 57 for three, the pair added 283 for the fourth wicket as West Indies bowlers toiled in favourable, overcast conditions.
The stand beat the previous highest mark for the fourth wicket for South Africa in tests of 249 set by Jacques Kallis and Gary Kirsten against West Indies in Durban in 2003.
Amla, captaining the side on home soil for the first time, will resume in the morning on 133 from 241 balls, while De Villiers was more fluent in his unbeaten 141 off 211 balls.
The pair showed their full array of strokes as they punished the wayward West Indies bowling.
Amla had a big slice of fortune when he was on 25 as a delivery from West Indies’ top performing bowler, Kemar Roach, brushed his off-stump in the first over after lunch, but with not enough force to dislodge the bails.
The tourists’ day worsened when Roach limped off the pitch in the final session and with the West Indies’ most likely wicket-taker out of the attack, South Africa took advantage.
It might have been a different story though.
Put in to bat, South Africa raced to 57 without loss but a fired-up Roach, denied the new ball by captain Denesh Ramdin, produced the line and length the opening bowlers had lacked.
Jerome Taylor and Sheldon Cottrell sprayed the ball either side of the wicket and bowled too short on a slow pitch that allowed openers Alviro Petersen and Dean Elgar to put on 50 inside 10 overs before Roach was introduced.
He induced an edge from Petersen (27) to Devon Smith at first slip, while in the next over a confident-looking Elgar smashed a wide delivery from Cottrell straight to Marlon Samuels in the gully for 28.
A poor few minutes for South Africa got worse when Faf du Plessis feathered an edge off Roach to wicketkeeper Ramdin without scoring.
After that it was one-way traffic.