A maiden one-day international century by Hashim Amla helped South Africa to a mammoth 358 for four in their ODI against Bangladesh on Sunday.
Bangladesh won the toss and sent South Africa in to bat – a decision they probably regret. Graeme Smith celebrated his return to action by smashing his 37th 50 off 51 balls as he and Amla put on 143 for the first wicket.
It was Smith’s first appearance since leading South Africa to a two-one Test series victory over England in August. Ring rustiness did not appear to be a problem – after a slowish start, he and Amla batted at more or less a run a ball, with their hundred partnership coming off just 115 deliveries.
Smith was dropped by his opposite number, Mohammad Ashraful, with his score on 54 but it was Ashraful who finally ended Smith’s innings, when he caught him off the bowling of Naeem Islam for 65.
Amla was in complete control as he made his way to his first ODI century off 112 balls, hitting eight fours and a six on the way. He and Jacques Kallis tore into the Bangladesh bowling, reaching their century partnership off 97 balls. Kallis was out immediately after that milestone, bowled by Abdur Razzak for 49.
Amla, who was dropped by Mushrafe Mortaza when he had 17, fell three overs after Kallis, caught at square leg by Syed Rasel off Mushrafe for 140. He faced 135 balls and hit eight fours and four sixes in a superb innings which put to bed any questions about his presence in the ODI team.
AB de Villiers and Mark Boucher came together with the score on 269 and just more than seven overs left to play and put on 42 runs in 25 balls before Boucher was caught by Ashraful off Syed for six. Big-hitting Albie Morkel joined his Titans teammate, who registered his 14th ODI 50 off just 23 balls, smashing two four and four massive sixes.
While the South Africans looked very sharp and appeared to relish the conditions, Bangladesh were all at sea. Their fielding, which had been excellent in Potchefstroom on Friday, was poor and their youth and inexperience showed. They will have an uphill battle to avoid an almighty thrashing.