De Villiers puts Proteas on top

  • Last Updated: February 22 2013, 17:01 GMT

AB de Villiers picked up where Hashim Amla left off as South Africa moved into a strong position on the first day of the third and final Test against Pakistan.

AB de Villiers: Unbeaten on 98 in Centurion
AB de Villiers: Unbeaten on 98 in Centurion

De Villiers reached stumps unbeaten on 98 as South Africa posted an impressive 334 for six in Centurion.

Amla's aggressive 92 had earlier propped up the Proteas after a wobbly start that saw them give up two early wickets, including that of skipper Graeme Smith for just five.

Amla's demise before tea appeared significant with the hosts on 186 for four, but De Villiers picked up the baton to smash 13 fours in 179 balls as he returned to the pavilion two runs short of his 16th Test ton.

Rahat Ali shone for the visitors with three wickets, including the key scalp of Amla, but on the whole the Pakistan attack was second best as South Africa did their chances of a series whitewash no harm at all.

The Proteas took an unassailable 2-0 lead into Friday's contest after a 211-run win in Johannesburg was followed by a four-wicket triumph in Cape Town.

After winning the toss, Smith elected to bat as he began his bid to become the first ever captain to mastermind 50 Test victories.

Smith's contribution was disappointing, however, the opener out for five after being caught at second slip by Younis Khan off debutant fast bowler Ehsan Adil.

The skipper's departure reduced the home side to 38 for two after Alviro Petersen (10) had earlier been trapped lbw by Rahat.

Amla and Faf du Plessis posted a 66-run partnership before the lunch interval, with Amla doing the lion's share of the damage as he hit nine fours on his way to his 27th Test fifty off 78 deliveries.

Du Plessis was also impressive as he lashed six boundaries in a 42-ball 29, but he failed to add to his total in the afternoon before he was caught behind by Sarfraz Ahmed off Adil.

Amla then paired with De Villiers and they added 79 runs for the fourth wicket before Amla's 13-boundary 92 was ended when he edged to wicketkeeper Sarfraz off Rahat.

Dean Elgar added just seven before he fell lbw to become Rahat's third victim.

Robin Peterson was the only wicket to fall in the evening session as he was run out attempting a quick single after a useful cameo that garnered 28 runs from 40 balls.

De Villiers brought up his 33rd Test fifty in 111 balls before ending the day agonisingly close to the three-figure milestone.

The wicketkeeper-batsman will resume in the morning alongside Vernon Philander, who was another to catch the eye for the hosts as he weighed in with an unbeaten 45.

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