#SAvWI: Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers launch spectacular counter-attack

Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers launched a spectacular counter-attack after three wickets had fallen without a run being scored on the opening day of the Sunfoil Test Series between the Castle Lager Proteas and the West Indies at SuperSport Park on Wednesday.

The Proteas, having been put into bat in bowler friendly conditions, were given a spring-heeled start by Alviro Petersen and Dean Elgar who put on 50 for the first wicket in only 10 overs but the belated introduction of Kemar Roach into the attack brought about a dramatic change as the Proteas slumped from 57 without loss to 57/3.

Thereafter, Amla and De Villiers took charge as the West Indies failed to exploit the conditions with the exception of Roach. By the close the Proteas had reached 340/3 in 91 overs with both Amla – his 23rd Test century – and De Villiers – the fifth South African to reach the landmark of 20 Test centuries – having completed three-figure scores. In the process they also established a South African fourth wicket partnership record – so far 287 – improving on the previous best of 249 by Jacques Kallis and Gary Kirsten, also against the West Indies, at Sahara Stadium Kingsmead in 2003.

Amla has so far made 133 off 242 balls (17 fours) and De Villiers 141 off 211 balls (15 fours and 2 sixes). Amla might have been bowled by Roach on 25 when a delivery grazed the stumps without dislodging the bails and he also had a narrow escape when a Suleiman Benn arm ball bounced over his stumps. De Villiers could have been run out on 63 but otherwise the two batsmen imposed themselves on the West Indies attack much as they liked.

The West Indies seam trio produced some testing deliveries but there were far too many loose ones in between and at one stage 65 percent of the Amla-De Villiers partnership had come in boundaries. In all the Proteas hit 41 fours and 2 sixes during the day’s play.

The chances of the West Indies getting back into the match were adversely affected when Roach (2/52), easily their best bowler, broke down while bowling the final delivery of his 16th over. The early indication is that he has suffered ankle ligament damage and it remains to be seen whether he will be able to bowl on the second morning.

ABIt is bad luck for the visitors. He is a bowler in much the same mould as Makhaya Ntini who is ideally suited to South African conditions. He hits the deck hard, makes use of the full width of the crease and gets the ball to straighten appreciable off the seam.

The two deliveries that accounted for Petersen and Faf du Plessis were out of the top drawer.

As expected, the Proteas named Stiaan van Zyl as South Africa’s 84th Test cap while they opted for an all-seam attack and played Kyle Abbott ahead of Robin Peterson.

James Buttler

James has been working as a journalist and broadcaster in cricket since 2006 and was an avid fan for many years before that.
As the editor of World Cricket Badger he is intent on building the website to give quality coverage of the domestic game around the world.
He is also the presenter of the Cricket Badger Radio Show on Radio Yorkshire every Tuesday evening between 7-9pm UK time.
James was the full-time Media Manager at Yorkshire County Cricket Club between 2007 and 2010.
James is a published author, a writer/video contributor to many cricket publications and a complete cricket badger!

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