Cape Town – A welcomed return to form for Hashim Amla saw the Proteascomfortably over the line in the first Test against Pakistan on Friday.
The Proteas won by 6 wickets, with the under-fire Amla silencing his latest critics with a knock of 63* while the value of Dean Elgar’s 50 can also not be understated.
The unpredictability of the Centurion wicket had made batting against the seamers extremely difficult throughout the Test match, which was over well inside three days.
Set a target of 149 for victory, the Proteas were off to the worst possible start on the third morning when Aiden Markram was out LBW to Hasan Ali for 0.
Amla and Elgar, though, fought hard to get through to lunch unscathed in a partnership that benefitted from an element of luck.
Amla was dropped in the slips when he was 8* while Elgar, in the most controversial moment of the day, looked to have been caught when he was 4* only for the third umpire to have ruled that the ball had dropped just short of Azhar Ali.
That moment would prove to be the killer blow to the Pakistan chance, and when the Proteas got through to lunch at 81/1, it looked like there would only be one winner.
Earlier in the Test, Duanne Olivier obliterated the Pakistan batting line-up in both innings, leaving with match figures of 11/96.
On day one, Dale Steyn also became the highest wicket-taker in South African Test history when he moved past Shaun Pollock at the top of that list.
The second Test gets underway at Newlands in Cape Town on January 3.
Scores in brief:
Pakistan 181 (Azam 71, Olivier 6/37, Rabada 3/59) and 190 (Masood 65, Imam-ul-Haq 57, Olivier 5/59, Rabada 3/47)
SA 223 (Bavuma 53, De Kock 45, Amir 4/62, Afridi 4/64) and ???/? (Amla 63*, Elgar 50)
SA won by 6 wickets