Hashim Amla plays a shot during a warm-up match between Sri Lanka Board President's XI and South Africa in Colombo. Photo: Ishara S. Kodikara

Moratuwa - Hashim Amla struck the first century of the tour, as South Africa amassed 297 for nine in their warm-up match against a Board President’s XI in Moratuwa on Thursday.

Amla stroked a masterful 104 off just 79 balls, before he retired, spanking 16 fours and a six off his final ball to reach three figures. The South African Test captain started with caution, as the new ball swung on a slow deck, but once he found his rhythm, he punched several, trademark boundaries around the former international venue.

Quinton de Kock struggled to get the pace of the wicket, and was leg-before for 18. Once he fell, Amla found a willing ally in Faf du Plessis. The Titans man was promoted to number three after Jacques Kallis pulled out of the match with a stiff back.

Du Plessis spent a valuable hour at the crease, compiling a workmanlike 41 off 55 balls, before he mistimed a pull to mid-on. A busy AB de Villiers then delivered an entertaining cameo, smashing 41 off just 27 balls, before surprisingly retiring with plenty of overs to spare.

The retirements of Amla and De Villiers saw South Africa lose some of their momentum, but JP Duminy again added gloss to the innings, with a well-paced 54 off 56 balls, as the tourists posted an encouraging 297 for nine.

The tourists will look to give all the bowlers in the squad a spell in the middle, as they build up to Sunday’s opening one-dayer in Colombo.

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