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SA v SL 3rd Test, Day 1 Review: Hashim Amla, Duminy centuries put the hosts in a position of strength

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA – JANUARY 12: JP Duminy and Hashim Amla of South Africas during day 1 of the 3rd test between South Africa and Sri Lanka at Bidvest Wanderers Stadium on January 12, 2017 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by Lee Warren/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

The Proteas have been ruthless in the Test series against Sri Lanka so far and it was evident one more time on the opening day of the 3rd and the final Test at the New Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg. It turned out to be an eventful opening day for the hosts and Hashim Amla in particular who was playing in his 100th Test. The Proteas eventually finished the day’s play comfortably placed at 338/3 in 90 overs.

Courtesy brilliant centuries from JP Duminy and the man playing in his 100th Test Hashim Amla, South Africa reached a position of strength at the end of 1st day’s play at the Bullring. The Sri Lankan bowlers tried hard but couldn’t break the partnership between Amla and Duminy after reducing the hosts to 45/2 in the opening session. They finally got JP Duminy in the penultimate over of the day.

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South African captain Faf du Plessis won the toss and opted to bat. The hosts got off to a solid start courtesy openers Dean Elgar and Stephen Cook. Both the openers were in superb form coming into the match. While Cook struck a wonderful century in the 1st Test, his partner Elgar followed it up with a magnificent match-winning century in the 2nd Test.

Elgar struck some crisp boundaries but Cook was yet to get going. But just when they were approaching the 50 runs stand both the openers fell by the same score to leave them precariously placed at 45/2.

Also read: Hashim Amla seeks turn in fortunes in 100th Test appearance

Cook was dismissed by opposition captain Angelo Mathews with a full-length delivery. The ball nipped back and thudded onto his stumps. Cook went for a review after being given out by the onfield umpire but to no avail. It was very close to being a no-ball but Mathews was saved by a millimetre. Elgar was dismissed by Lahiru Kumara in the very next over. It was a back of a length delivery and he played away from his body. He mistimed it and managed to give an easy catch to first slip.

JP Duminy joined the man playing in his 100th test Hashim Amla. They were troubled quite a bit by the pacers during the initial phase of their innings but eventually grinded hard to complete magnificent centuries. It was heartening to see Amla back in form after lacklustre performances in most of his previous few Tests. Duminy played some delightful drives of Suranga Lakmal and Lahiru Kumara to get his innings going. Amla too started oozing with confidence and struck some wonderful shots of the pacers.

Rangana Herath went past Amla’s defence on a couple of occasions but he was patient enough to negate the initial burst and come out on top. Both the batsmen started scoring freely especially in the post tea session with Duminy striking some lusty blows. The southpaw eventually reached his century in the 59th over of the innings of Nuwan Pradeep. It was not the most convincing way to bring up a century as he edged it through the slip cordons but a hundred is a hundred eventually and he deserved all the applause he got from his teammates.

Amla, on the other hand, was playing with caution and gave him ample support. In between, he struck a couple of delightful boundaries of Rangana Herath to make his presence felt. The duo kept going and things started becoming very difficult for the visitors. Amla reached his century 76th over by driving an overpitched delivery from Rangana Herath to the extra cover boundary for a four. He also became only the 8th player to register a century in their 100th Test. His only other teammate who had achieved this feat earlier was his former captain Graeme Smith.

Duminy kept going and completed his 150 in the 87th over but in the very next over he was dismissed by Lahiru Kumara to bring an end to a mammoth partnership of 292 runs. Debutant Duanne Olivier joined Amla in the middle to play out the last four balls of the innings. South Africa will look to come all guns blazing in the 2nd day and consolidate a position of strength.

Brief Scores

South Africa 338/3 in 90 overs (JP Duminy 155, Hashim Amla 125*, Lahiru Kumara 2/79)

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