South Africa batsman Hashim Amla was pleased to cash in on day one of the the third and final Test against Pakistan, after captain Graeme Smith won the toss and opted to bat first on a testing Centurion pitch.
Amla's 92, an unbeaten 98 from wicketkeeper-batsman AB de Villiers and 45 not out from all-rounder Vernon Philander pushed the Proteas to 334 for six against an inexperienced visiting attack.
Hampered by left-armer Junaid Khan's absence due to injury and right-armer Umar Gul's omission due to illness, Pakistan's seam attack struggled against a seasoned South African order.
"We feel 330-odd is a really good first day total at Supersport Park. The overhead conditions probably suited batting. It was a 50-50 call as to whether we were going to bat or bowl first, everyone was kind of undecided," said Amla.
"When Graeme decided to bat first we were happy with the decision and we knew that it was going to be a bit tough, but fortunately the day ended up quite nicely for us. The ball did a little bit off the deck but I think the small partnerships here and there managed to capitalise on some loose balls."
Amla expressed particular pride in de Villiers' innings, which spanned 179 deliveries and featured 13 boundaries. Quick to oblige in the wake of Smith and opener Alviro Petersen's failures, the right-handed vice-captain shared an imporatant 52-run alliance with all-rounder Robin Peterson and an unbroken 86-run stand with Philander.
"It was a bit testing, as a batman you can't just get into a rhythm, at any given time you can get out and that is why I think AB's knock was unbelievable. He hung in there a lot longer and managed to build a partnership with Vernon, which was really crucial for us," added Amla.