Brisbane - Hashim Amla was approaching his
third century in his last four Tests as South Africa defused Australia's
pace attack and reached a dominant 255 for two at the end of the
opening day of the first Test at the Gabba on Friday.
was 90 not out when the stumps were drawn early because of bad light,
put on 136 in an unbeaten third wicket stand with Jacques Kallis (84 not
out) after openers Graeme Smith (10) and Alviro Petersen (64) were
dismissed either side of the lunch break.
Australian seamer Peter
Siddle was left rueing missed chances after his no ball gave Kallis a
life on 43 and he dropped a catch off his own bowling that would have
sent Amla back to the dressing room with 74 runs.
The home side
had hoped the bowling attack which destroyed India's vaunted batsmen
last year would do the same with the South Africans but the fireworks
from James Pattinson, Ben Hilfenhaus and Siddle failed to materialise.
Amla, the world's top-ranked batsman, signalled his intent early in the
day with a soaring six off spinner Nathan Lyon and coolly paced his
innings, easing up when the quicks got into their stride and opening up
against anything loose.
The 29-year-old put on 90 for the second
wicket with Petersen before the opener threw away his wicket by wafting a
shot for Mike Hussey to catch at mid-on off Lyon's bowling halfway
through the second session.
Picking up his 5,000th test run along
the way, Amla reached his 24th Test half century before tea and,
Siddle's dropped catch apart, it looked like only the gathering clouds
would stop him reaching his 17th test century.
Kallis had designs on the milestone himself after racing to his 56th Test half century in just 63 balls, reaching the mark with a sublime
The all rounder rode his luck, though, when he
ballooned a catch to Lyon only for the umpire to call him back to the
crease after TV replays showed Siddle had failed to keep his front foot
behind the line.
Australia had earlier benefited from the TV
appeal system to dismiss Smith lbw when a Pattinson delivery caught the
South African skipper's trailing leg but umpire Billy Bowden declined to
raise his characteristic crooked finger.
South Africa won the
toss and chose to bat, which looked like a good decision after the
wicket and overcast conditions failed to produce the sort of swing and
movement off the pitch the seamers had hoped for.
Africa's other big decision of the morning - to drop spinner Imran Tahir
and give a debut to Rory Kleinveldt as part of a four-pronged pace
attack - proves a good one may only be determined as the contest
South Africa's number one Test ranking is on the line in
the series, which continues with matches in Adelaide and Perth after
Warner, Ed Cowan, Rob Quiney, Ricky Ponting, Michael Clarke (captain), Mike
Hussey, Matthew Wade, Peter Siddle, Nathan Lyon, James Pattinson, Ben
Mitchell Starc (12th man)
Smith (captain), Alviro Petersen, Hashim Amla, Jacques Kallis, AB de
Villiers, Jacques Rudolph, JP Duminy, Vernon Philander, Morne Morkel,
Dale Steyn, Rory Kleinveldt
Imran Tahir (12th man)
Umpires: Asad Rauf (PAK), Billy Bowden (NZL)
TV umpire Richard Kettleborough (ENG)
Match referee: Ranjan Madugalle (SRI)