Pretoria - Captain Hashim Amla and his senior lieutenant AB de Villiers have both hit
centuries as South Africa took command after early setbacks on the first
day of the first Test against the West Indies at SuperSport Park on
Wednesday.Amla, captaining South Africa for the first time in a home Test, made 133 not out, while De Villiers hit an unbeaten 141.
As it happened: Proteas v West Indies - Day 1
South Africa were 340 for three at the close.
They will resume on Thursday after adding 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 could have been 102 for four but Amla, on 25, had an escape when a ball from Kemar Roach brushed his off stump but did not dislodge a bail.
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 Roach, who was comfortably their best bowler, pulled up lame after bowling five balls of his 16th over half an hour after tea.
Roach went for a scan on his right ankle and a team spokesman said the results would be assessed overnight.
Roach was surprisingly not given the new ball and runs flowed freely from South African openers Alviro Petersen and Dean Elgar before he was brought into the attack after 44 runs had been scored in nine overs.
He immediately imposed some control and 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.
Cottrell said he had been given the new ball because of his ability to make the ball swing in to the right-handed batsmen.
"The ball was moving quite a bit but I didn't have the control I wanted," he admitted.
Cottrell gave credit to Amla and De Villiers.
"It is difficult bowling to them. They are experienced, they play spin and pace very well and they are playing on their home ground."
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 Amla's escape in the first over after the interval.
Amla was beaten by a ball from Roach, who appealed for a catch behind.
Umpire Aleem Dar turned down the appeal and a slow motion replay showed the ball brushed his off stump, causing the leg bail to lift slightly before settling back into its groove.
De Villiers was first to a half-century, reaching the mark off 78 balls with his tenth four.
The 100 partnership came up at the same time off 156 deliveries. Amla?s fifty followed soon afterwards off 87 balls with seven fours.
De Villiers became the fifth South African to score 20 Test centuries after facing 138 balls, while Amla's 23rd hundred came off 161 deliveries.