De Villiers leaves South Africa in control
AB de Villiers ended unbeaten on 98 as South Africa enjoyed the better of the opening day in their final Test versus Pakistan.
Already 2-0 up in the three-match series, the Proteas’ triumph was confirmed prior to the last encounter at Centurion.
Yet that did not stop de Villiers, following the lead of Hashim Amla, responding to an impressive Pakistan bowling display with a quite outstanding innings.
Well supported by Robin Peterson’s 28 and Vernon Philander’s 45 not out, de Villiers showed brilliant composure in taking South Africa to 334 for six.
The hosts’ initial progress was built upon 92 from Amla, who played beautifully amid Pakistan initially impressing with the ball.
The tourists picked a much-changed attack and inexperienced duo Rahat Ali and Ehsan Adil made an initial impression.
The former, playing in just his second Test, trapped Alviro Petersen plumb in front and debutant Adil had Graeme Smith taken at slip in his first over.
Amla responded in style, producing a series of crisp flicks off his pads while Francois du Plessis settled in.
However, Adil continued his fine start by having du Plessis taken behind for 28 – after which Amla and de Villiers shared an eye-catching 81-run alliance.
That was to end when Amla - having enjoyed a couple of fortuitous moments - fell eight short of a deserved ton, caught behind playing an expansive against Rahat.
Dean Elgar did not last too long, trapped plumb in front by Rahat – a verdict that was upheld by the Decision Review System.
Yet de Villiers, who had initially prospered with a variety of cuts and guides, continued to look imperious against pace and spin.
His promising partnership with Peterson ended when Mohammad Irfan produced an impressive direct-hit. But Philander showed his pedigree with the bat in accompanying de Villiers to stumps and leaving South Africa in an excellent position.