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Rediff.com  » Sports » Smith and Amla put Bangladesh to the sword

Smith and Amla put Bangladesh to the sword

November 20, 2008 10:56 IST

Graeme Smith and Hashim Amla hit unbeaten centuries as South Africa punished Bangladesh's bowling attack on the first day of the first Test in Bloemfontein on Wednesday.

South Africa ended the day, cut short by nine overs by nearly an hour of rain and bad light, on 299 for one with Smith on 138 and Amla on 103.

Smith, who struck his 17th Test century, and Amla combined for an unbeaten second-wicket stand of 197 as South Africa took a grip on the match after Bangladesh had bowled tightly for the first hour after winning the toss.

Smith struck 14 fours and a six and broke Jacques Kallis's South African record of 1288 runs in a calendar year, made in 2004. South Africa's captain ended the day on 1317 runs.

Bangladesh took their first wicket after nearly three hours of play, Neil McKenzie's square-drive off Shahadat Hossain slicing to Mehrab Hossain at backward point. The catch ended an opening stand of 102 between Smith and McKenzie, who scored 42.

The pair extended their world record of successive Tests with an opening stand of over 50 to 10.

In the final Test against England at the Oval in August, the pair bettered the previous mark of eight between West Indians Roy Fredericks and Gordon Greenidge in 1976-77, while Englishmen Jack Hobbs and Herbert Sutcliffe twice achieved seven half-century stands in successive Tests.

Smith and Amla took charge after McKenzie's fall, with Amla racing to his half-century off 76 balls and then notching his third hundred of the year, in 208 minutes off 149 balls, stroking 10 sweetly-struck boundaries.

Bangladesh spurned three chances in the field, Smith surviving a missed stumping by Mushfiqur Rahim off left-arm spinner Shakib Al Hasan on 84 and a sharp catch by Imrul Kayes at short-leg off the same bowler on 118.

Amla's top-class innings should have ended on 93 when Mashrafe Mortaza dropped a catch low to his left at slip off left-arm spinner Mehrab Hossain.

The second match of the two-Test series starts on November 26 at Centurion.

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