Centurion - When Proteas captain Faf du Plessis lost the toss at SuperSport Park ahead of the first Test against England on Boxing Day, he left a happy man.
England skipper Joe Root opted to bowl first, but Du Plessis was quick to confirm that he would have batted anyway.
The Centurion wicket, he said, was one that would deteriorate as the Test match went on and he was expecting the cracks on the surface to widen by the time the contest reached its business end.
Even so, the skipper could not have been happy with the performance of his top order as the Proteas slumped to 111/5.
At that stage, England were firmly on the front foot.
A superb knock of 95 from Quinton de Kock, however, swung some momentum back South Africa's way and he found able support in the form of debutant Dwaine Pretorius (33) and Vernon Philander (28*).
By the end of day one, South Africa were 277/9.
While that might not seem a great return for a side batting first, things could have been a lot worse were it not for the lower order resistance and De Kock believes his side is now well and truly in the game.
Even on day one, the Centurion wicket was showing signs of inconsistency in bounce with numerous deliveries jumping up off a length and causing trouble for the South African batsmen.
"It's not a bad score," De Kock said at the post-day press conference after falling agonisingly short of what would have been a sixth Test ton.
"The wicket is quite tough to bat on but obviously if you apply yourself you can score runs. It's going to be a challenging wicket through the rest of the five days.
"We know the nature of the wicket. We play so much cricket here. We know how the conditions go.
"The one side has definitely got a little more bounce than the other. There is a little bit of a difference between the two sides."
Reflecting on the match situation, De Kock felt the contest was evenly poised.
"Even at the moment now, I think it's 50/50," he said.
"The wicket I think will get a little bit more difficult as the game goes on.
"We just need to make sure when we go out and bowl, we really keep the pressure on. I see it as 50/50."
Play on Friday will get underway at 10:00.