Proteas’ restraint pays off on day 1

South Africa 325/4 (Amla 106*, Du Plessis 69, Smith 54, Bracewell 2/70, Patel 1/60)

There were stages when South Africa looked like they would gallop away but then somehow would rein themselves in, but a 19th Test century by Hashim Amla ensured that not all the starts were wasted.

One thing South Africa was able to show on day one yesterday was restraint, considering the pitch was flat with new ball and old ball swing.

All of that was countered by the resolute Hashim Amla, who seems bent on righting his home record, which is not as good as his away one.

His 187-ball 100 contained only eight boundaries, a signal of letting his counterparts do all the attacking.

Not that there was anything wrong with the Proteas’ batting, but the manner in which starts where squandered indicated a side all too ready to dominate without the requisite groundwork.

As weak as New Zealand may be perceived, 50’s and 60’s need to be converted into substantial totals, especially by a batting order of the might of South Africa’s.

No discredit to a New Zealand bowling line-up that toiled manfully in the face of determined batting. They knew South Africa were riding the crest of an aggressive wave from Cape Town and would look to carry on in the same vein.

When they felt the need to attack and stem the flow of runs, they did so astutely but their limited variety in terms of two left-arm swing bowlers in Neil Wagner and Trent Boult, the military medium Colin Munro and the bustling Doug Bracewell, their pressure could not be fully sustained.

The lefties continually found minimal swing and should the wind change direction and cloud up on day two, they could be in line for early breakthroughs like they did in Cape Town, provided that they bowl well.

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