Brisbane: Hashim Amla was approaching his third century in his last four tests as South Africa defused Australia's pace attack and reached a dominant 255 for two at the end of the opening day of the first Test at the Gabba on Friday.
Amla, 90 not out when stumps were drawn early because of bad light, put on 136 in an unbeaten third wicket stand with Jacques Kallis (84 not out) after openers Graeme Smith (10) and Alviro Petersen (64) were dismissed either side of the lunch break.
Australian seamer Peter Siddle was left ruing missed chances after his no-ball gave Kallis a life on 43. Besides, he dropped a catch off his own bowling that would have sent Amla — on 74 then — back to the dressing room.
The home side had hoped the bowling attack, which destroyed India's vaunted batsmen last year would do the same with the South Africans. But the fireworks from James Pattinson, Ben Hilfenhaus and Siddle failed to materialise. “We wanted to really put our peg in the ground and I think we did that really well,” said Petersen.
“Two wickets down, we’re in a comfortable position. But Saturday is going to be really important, to back that up and make sure the first day’s work doesn’t go to waste.”
Amla, currently the world's top-ranked batsman, signalled his intent early on with a soaring six off off-spinner Nathan Lyon and calmly paced his innings, easing up when the quicks got into their stride and opening up against anything loose on offer.
The 29-year-old put on 90 for the second wicket with Petersen before the opener threw away his wicket by waft a shot for Mike Hussey to catch at mid-on, off the bowling of Lyon, halfway through the second session. (Reuters)