Image courtesy of: The Guardian
Amla remained unbeaten on 118
South Africa batsman Hashim Amla and Pakistan debutant Zulfiqur Babar both produced sparkling performances on a turbulent first day in Abu Dhabi.
Amla scored a magnificent unbeaten century, while Babar finished the day with three wickets.
South Africa captain Graeme Smith won the toss and elected to bat first on a pitch that looked to be a batsman’s dream.
However, the Proteas did not get off to a good start as opening batsman Alviro Petersen was caught out off the bowling of Mohammad Irfan in the third over of the day.
Smith did not last much longer either as he became Irfan’s second victim when edging a delivery to wicketkeeper Adnan Akmal on 15.
The returning Jacques Kallis also failed to have an impact as he was caught behind off the bowling of Junaid Khan for only five runs.
With South Africa struggling at 43/3, Amla and AB de Villiers came to the rescue with a 61-run partnership, during which Amla brought up his half-century, before de Villiers was run out for 19.
Amla and Jean Paul (JP) Duminy, who had not played Test cricket since injuring his Achilles tendon in Australia in December, steadied the innings with a 95-run partnership, during which Duminy recorded his half-century, before becoming Babar’s first Test victim.
Duminy marked his comeback with a brilliant knock of 57 off 94 balls, which included six boundaries and a six.
Faf du Plessis, Robin Peterson and Vernon Philander all fell in quick succession, but Amla continued to put up a resistance as he registered his 20th Test century.
South Africa finished day one on 245/8 with Amla unbeaten on 118 off 250 deliveries, which included 13 boundaries, while Dale Steyn remained undefeated on 13.
Amla and Steyn’s partnership is currently worth 23 and the pair will resume batting when play starts tomorrow at 10:00 local time or 06:00 GMT.
Babar was the most successful Pakistan bowler with three wickets, while Irfan picked up two and Khan and Saeed Ajmal both chipped in with one wicket apiece.