Cape Town - Proteas opener Hashim Amla has defended his side's inability to accelerate with the bat in the first ODI against Pakistan in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.
Batting first having won the toss, the Proteas could only muster 266/2 from their allotted 50 overs and fell to a five-wicket loss.
Amla batted throughout the innings to finish 108* (120) while Rassie van der Dussen made 93 (101) and Reeza Hendricks 45 (67).
With David Miller only getting 12 balls out in the middle and the likes of skipper Faf du Plessis, Heinrich Klaasen, Andile Phehlukwayo and Dwaine Pretorius unused, South Africa's struggles to put the foot on the gas through their innings raised eyebrows just a few months out from the 2019 World Cup in England.
But Amla, who carded his 27th ODI century, explained after the match that run-scoring was not easy.
"It was a tough wicket to bat on," he said.
"I know we only lost two wickets, but it was tough to get the ball away. Their spinners bowled pretty decently as well.
"We tried to score and unfortunately we just couldn't get the acceleration we needed."
Amla was impressed by both Van der Dussen and Hendricks.
"Rassie batted exceptionally well. Somebody coming in on debut is always going to have those added nerves. It takes about 20 or 30 balls for you to get the pace of the wicket and find some sort of rhythm. He managed to get through that and then looked really good," he said.
"Reeza has had a few games under his belt and he's batted really well. He's calm and composed and we know he is a wonderful player. Guys like him and Rassie will only get better because the more you play the more you understand your own game.
"After 10 overs I think both teams were level with about 40-odd, so it wasn't that free-flowing wicket up front.
"We always know that coming to PE the wicket is a bit slower and it is not a high-scoring game. 260 is usually a defendable total, but credit Pakistan ... they played well."
The 2nd ODI takes place on Tuesday at Kingsmead in Durban.