JP Duminy displayed his great strength of driving through the covers to terrific effect as he took South Africa through to 174 for two at tea on the first day of the first Test against Sri Lanka at St George’s Park in Port Elizabeth on Monday.
Duminy had breezed to 46 not out at the break, a 55-ball cameo that included nine fours, six of them laced through the covers in superb fashion, including the first ball he faced, from Suranga Lakmal.
Hashim Amla reached the interval on 18 not out, a not entirely convincing innings that had taken up 66 deliveries.
The Sri Lankan bowlers had been steady throughout the 57 overs bowled on the first day, without being overly threatening.
Lakmal was the best of the attack, the 29-year-old seamer probing throughout as he took two for 35 in 14 overs.
South Africa had won the toss and elected to bat first and openers Stephen Cook and Dean Elgar could not be parted until half-an-hour after lunch as they put on 104 for the first wicket, their first century stand as an opening pair and South Africa’s first at St George’s Park since Barry Richards and Eddie Barlow put on 157 against Australia in 1970.
Opening bowler Lakmal made the breakthrough when he found the edge of Cook’s bat with a fine delivery that nipped away, the batsman trying to drive the ball through his favoured midwicket region, and wicketkeeper Dinesh Chandimal lunging to his right to take the catch.
Cook’s 59 off 125 balls, with seven fours, was his second half-century, to go with two centuries, in his seventh Test.
Elgar fell four overs late as he hung his bat out at a Lakmal delivery outside off stump and was also dismissed caught behind.
South Africa had slipped to 105 for two, and Sri Lanka’s bowlers made life difficult for Amla, but Duminy was in charge from the outset, once again giving the naysayers plenty to think about as he ensured that the Proteas slammed the door shut on any further inroads by the Sri Lankans.