Proteas captain Graeme Smith and Hashim Amla both scored centuries as South Africa got among the runs on the rain-interrupted opening day of the first Castle Lager Test against Bangladesh at Outsurance Park on Wednesday.
Bangladesh won the toss and somewhat surprisingly sent South Africa in to bat. The morning session was quiet, with only 61 runs scored, but Smith and Neil McKenzie both reached milestones.
McKenzie became the 10th South African to pass 3000, reaching the milestone with a boundary, and Smith became the second South African after Jacques Kallis to score 1200 runs in a calendar year. His previous best total for a year was 1198 in 2003. By close of play, he had passed Kallis’s record of 1288, with a total of 1317 runs.
Smith and McKenzie also extended their run of opening partnerships worth more than 50 runs. They have achieved this in 10 consecutive Tests, two more than the previous world record of eight, established by Roy Fredericks and Gordon Greenidge of the West Indies.
McKenzie was out for 42 about an hour after lunch when he was caught at backward point by Mehrab Hossain off the bowling of Shahadat Hossain. He batted for just under three hours and faced 118 balls.
Amla looked totally in control from the outset, and reached his 10th Test 50 off 76 balls. He and Smith shared a second wicket partnership of 197, with their century partnership coming off 146 deliveries and the 150 partnership off 218. Amla was the senior partner in the stand, scoring 85 runs of the 150, with Smith contributing 58.
Shortly after they had passed the 100 mark, Smith was able to celebrate his century – his third against Bangladesh and his 17th overall. He faced 177 balls and hit 13 boundaries.
There were two rain interruptions – the first shortly before tea, and the second about an hour before the scheduled close of play. Amla did not look quite as assured after the second rain break, with some risky shots, and he was dropped by Mortaza with his score on 93. Nevertheless, he made sure of his 10th century. It took him three hours and 18 minutes, and he faced 149 balls.
At close of play, Smith was not out on 138 and Amla had 103. South Africa seem set for a mammoth score.