JOHANNESBURG (AP) Hashim Amla marked his 100th test with an unbeaten century as South Africa dominated Sri Lanka on the opening day of the third test at the Wanderers on Thursday.
Amla hit 125 not out and shared in a stand of 292 with JP Duminy for the third wicket, carrying South Africa to 338-3 after it won the toss and elected to bat on a grassy pitch.
Amla declined to make a fuss of his latest landmark in the build-up to the match, but made the occasion memorable as he became the eighth batsman to score a century in his 100th test and just the second South African after former captain Graeme Smith.
”There’s been some frustration with not getting runs over the last few games and not contributing to the team’s success,” Amla said.
”I just wanted my focus to be as pure as possible with no side attractions and razzmatazz. I’m just grateful to be here getting some runs.”
Although Amla’s knock was the focus of attention, Duminy deserved equal credit for his aggressive 155.
With Amla struggling for form after a run of 10 innings without a half-century, Duminy’s counterattacking knock allowed South Africa to recover from 45-2.
”It took the pressure off the team. When he’s on song he’s a beautiful player to watch,” Amla said.
”His judgement is great, his timing is immaculate, and it’s always a pleasure to bat with him.”
After seeing out the first hour of the day, openers Stephen Cook and Dean Elgar were dismissed in the space of just five deliveries.
While the green pitch and overcast conditions offered constant assistance to Sri Lanka’s seamers, they were unable to capitalize.
Amla was dropped on 5 when he edged Suranga Lakmal to gully in the over before lunch, and went on to make the most of his fortune as he and Duminy added 114 runs in 30 overs in the second session.
Amla rediscovered his touch during that period, reaching 50 shortly before the tea break, and after the interval he added a second 50 in just 60 balls.
”He wasn’t scoring freely at the start, but after getting to 30 he was more like his normal self,” Sri Lanka batsman Kaushal Silva said. ”After he got his 50 he played fluently. It was a great knock.”
Meanwhile, Duminy reached his sixth test century, and went on to turn it into his second highest score.
The partnership was finally broken in the penultimate over of the day, when Lahiru Kumara had Duminy caught at second slip to claim his second wicket.
Fast bowler Duanne Olivier, who was handed a debut as South Africa picked an all-pace attack, survived to the close of play without scoring as the nightwatchman.