Galle – Hashim Amla won his first toss as South Africa’s Test captain on and duly decided to have first strike in the first Test against Sri Lanka, at the run-friendly Galle International Stadium.
By lunch, South Africa had reached a healthy 111 for one, the scoring rate rattling along at just under four runs to the over.
Openers Dean Elgar and Alviro Petersen added a fluent 70 for the opening wicket, before the latter was trapped in front by off-spinner Dilruwan Perera for 34 off 46 balls.
Petersen had again looked organised and ominous, but his promising start was ended by a ball that didn’t turn from Perera, and even a review couldn’t save him. The Proteas have so far repelled the advances of Rangana Herath, with Elgar especially quick to latch onto anything loose.
The left-hander, who is seeking to make the opening slot vacated by Graeme Smith his own, reached his second Test half-century before lunch, needing 74 balls, to go to lunch on 62 not out.
At the crease with him at lunch was Faf du Plessis, who was on 14 not out.
Du Plessis has been shifted up the order to allow skipper Amla to go one spot down the order, a move designed to give him more time in between innings to settle himself.
The Proteas will be looking to compile a sizeable first innings total over the next two days, and the lack of any real turn so far will encourage them.
They have a powerful middle-order, with AB de Villiers at five, the in-form wicket-keeper/batsman, Quinton de Kock at six and the creative JP Duminy at seven, although they will hope they are only required on the second day.
The Sri Lankans have recalled opener Upul Tharanga to their line-up for the first time since 2007 and named two spinners in their line-up.
Sri Lanka: Upul Tharanga, Kaushal Silva, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Lahiru Thirimanne, Angelo Mathews, (capt), Dinesh Chandimal (wk), Dilruwan Perera, Rangana Herath, Shaminda Eranga, Suranga Akmal.
South Africa: Alviro Petersen, Dean Elgar, Faf du Plessis, Hashim Amla (capt), AB de Villiers, Quinton de Kock (wk), JP Duminy, Vernon Philander, Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, Imran Tahir.