Centurion, Dec 17: Captain Hashim Amla and his senior lieutenant AB de Villiers both hit centuries as South Africa took command after early setbacks on the first day of the first Test against the West Indies here today. South Africa were 340 for three at the close.
Amla, captaining South Africa for the first time in a home Test, made 133 not out, while De Villiers hit an unbeaten 141. They added 283 for the fourth wicket, a South African record against the West Indies. The pair came together with South Africa in a minor crisis after losing three wickets for no runs with the total on 57.
It was a superb display of batting by two of the best batsmen in the world but it was not a good day for the West Indians, who failed to take advantage of sending South Africa in to bat in heavily overcast conditions.
Much of the bowling was mediocre and the tourists suffered a blow when Kemar Roach, who was comfortably their best bowler, pulled up lame after bowling five balls of his 16th over half an hour after tea.
Roach was surprisingly not given the new ball and runs flowed freely from South African openers Alviro Petersen and Dean Elgar before Roach was brought into the attack after nine overs.
He made the first breakthrough in his third over when he had Petersen caught at first slip and followed up with the wicket of Faf du Plessis, who was caught behind. When Roach limped off he had taken two for 52.
Roach's wickets sandwiched the dismissal of Elgar, who was caught at gully off left-armer Sheldon Cottrell. The three wickets fell in the space of 15 balls.
Rain delayed the start by half an hour and the sky was overcast for almost the entire day but with the exception of Roach, the bowlers were not consistent enough to exploit any assistance from the conditions.
After the early setbacks, Amla and De Villiers saw their team through to lunch, adding 45 runs before the break with largely risk-free batting.
Their stroke play blossomed after the interval, although Amla had an escape before he had added to his lunch score of 25.