NOTTINGHAM, United Kingdom: Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock shared an unbroken century stand as South Africa advanced to 179 for two at tea on the first day of the second Test against England at Trent Bridge on Friday.
Amla was 65 not out, having become just the fourth South African after Jacques Kallis, Graeme Smith and AB de Villiers to score 8,000 Test runs, and free-scoring left-hander de Kock, promoted to number four, 68 not out. Their partnership was so far worth 113.
South Africa’s sound position was a vindication of returning captain Faf du Plessis’s bold call to bat first after winning the toss, with the Proteas 1-0 down in the four-match series after a 211-run defeat inside four days at Lord’s last week.
Trent Bridge has a reputation for aiding swing bowling and Du Plessis, who did not play at Lord’s following the birth of his first child, admitted it had been a “tricky decision” to bat under cloudy skies.
South Africa did lose an early wicket, however, when Dean Elgar, their stand-in captain at Lord’s, pushed out on six to James Anderson and was well caught by a diving Liam Dawson at backward point to leave the Proteas 18 for one.
Amla, meanwhile pulled fast bowler Mark Wood for a four that saw him to 8,000 Test runs.
At lunch, South Africa were 56 for one with opener Heino Kuhn 34 not out, after being twice dismissed for single figures on debut at Lord’s, and Amla unbeaten on 16. Kuhn was still on his interval score when he played on to Stuart Broad, striking on his Nottinghamshire home ground, to end a two-hour innings.
Amla, who made the South African record Test score of 311 not out against England at The Oval five years ago, was, however, in fine touch.
He forced Anderson off the back foot square on the offside for four and cover-drove Broad for another boundary.
Prior to this series, South Africa batting great Barry Richards suggested that, at the age of 34, Amla’s best days might be behind him.
But Amla, out for meagre scores of 29 and 11 at Lord’s, completed a 93-ball fifty in style on Friday when he drove left-arm spinner Dawson for a straight six. Left-hander de Kock was also severe on Dawson, late-cutting and driving the Hampshire bowler for two well-struck fours. — AFP
South Africa first innings
D Elgar c Dawson b Anderson 6
H Kuhn b Broad 34
H Amla not out 65
Q de Kock not out 68
Extras (lb6) 6
Total (2 wkts, 52 overs, 223 mins) 179
Fall of wickets: 1-42, 2-66
Bowling: Anderson 12-2-34-1, Broad 11-2-26-1, Wood 11-3-39-0, Stokes 11-2-45-0, Dawson 3-0-19-0, Ali 4-1-10-0