Cape Town - Proteas captain Hashim Amla batted through the entire third day at Newlands on Monday to give his side a fighting chance in the second Test against England.
Amla finished the day on 157*, having started on 64*.
He had come into the match under tremendous pressure having not passed 50 since January 2015 and having not carded a century since December 2014.
That pressure was increased by the fact that the Proteas bowling attack was destroyed by England – the visitors having declared on 629/6.
But Amla responded in the best possible way.
He was a picture of composure throughout the day, and while luck was very much on his side, he has batted the Proteas back into the game.
Amla was dropped twice in the day – first by James Anderson when he was on 76 and then by Nick Compton when he was on 120.
Both were chances that should have been taken, and both hurt England as Amla grew in stature as the day progressed.
AB de Villiers (88) was the only wicket to fall in the day.
Having played his part in a 183-run third wicket stand with Amla, De Villiers pulled a short delivery from Steven Finn straight to Anderson at mid-wicket.
When Faf du Plessis walked to the wicket, there would have been concerns amongst Proteas supporters.
The 31-year-old has not been in good form with the bat and he – like Amla – was under massive pressure.
And that is perhaps the best news for South Africa.
They only lost one wicket the entire day, but perhaps more importantly Amla and Du Plessis are among the runs.
Du Plessis, patient and measured, was not out on 51 at the end of the day.
After ending the day on 353 for 3 there is a long way to go yet for the South Africans, but after Monday they will be feeling a lot better about themselves.