Centurion - On a day where the advantage swayed from one side to the other several times, AB de Villiers put South Africa in the pound seats as they ended the first day of the third and final Test against Pakistan on 334 for six in Centurion on Friday.
On 98 overnight, De Villiers would have to wait until the morning for his century and partner Vernon Philander, on 45, likewise for his half-century.
After the opening pair made early departures, Hashim Amla staged a recovery, scoring a magnificent 92. He fell short of his century when he tried to drive Rahat Ali and got a thick outside edge to the wicketkeeper.
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Dean Elgar (7) failed to make the most of his opportunity, coming in at number six, and Robin Peterson was run out unnecessarily going for a run which was never on. De Villiers sent him back and he was caught short by a direct hit from Mohammad Irfan at mid-on.
Ehsan Adil, aged 19, took two wickets on debut and they included the scalps of Graeme Smith and Faf du Plessis.
With only one match under his belt prior to this Test, Rahat Ali bagged three of South Africa’s top six, conceding 95 runs.
Alviro Petersen (10) was trapped in front to give Rahat his first wicket in Test cricket and Smith gifted Adil his first wicket off only his third ball in Test cricket.
Smith (5) got an outside edge which ballooned to the slips and Younus moved swiftly across to his right to snatch the catch.
Opting for a fourth seamer instead of another batsman to replace the injured Jacques Kallis, South Africa looked to be in trouble on 38/2.
Amla and Faf du Plessis rescued the side and the pair shared an attacking third-wicket stand of 69 off 116 balls.
Du Plessis (29) was out shortly after lunch to a delivery from the youngster Adil. The ball moved away slightly and shaved the outside of the bat on its way through to the keeper.
De Villiers joined Amla for a crucial 79-run partnership, before Rahat was responsible for Amla’s demise.
Rahat took the new ball after 80 overs, when South Africa were on 308 for six but he was unable to make inroads into the tail.
De Villiers played responsibly, bringing up his half-century off 111 deliveries. At the close of play, the unbeaten seventh-wicket stand between him and Philander was worth 86 off 136 balls and included eight boundaries.