Johannesburg - South Africa A skipper Justin Ontong and Temba Bavuma (55) laid the foundation for a strong finish for their side on day one of the second unofficial Test against Australia A in Townsville, in Queensland, Australia, on Thursday.
This after they were put on the back foot by three early wickets, all claimed by Gurinder Sandhu, who finished the day with figures of three wickets for 60 runs.
Ontong and Bavuma shared a 78-run, fourth-wicket partnership, adding crucial runs after Heino Kuhn, Khaya Zondo and Reeza Hendricks were dismissed for six, three and 32 respectively, leaving South Africa on 56/3 in the 34th over when Ontong walked to the crease.
Bavuma's half-century came off 151 balls, including six fours, before he became Stephen O'Keefe's first victim of the day.
Ontong went on to share an 82-run, fifth-wicket partnership with Farhaan Behardien (35*), but missed out on a well-deserved century when O'Keefe struck a second time, removing him for 86 off 175 balls to see the bowler finish with 2/40.
South Africa A were 220/5 after 90 overs at stumps, with Behardien joined at the crease by David Wiese, who has yet to face a ball.