Amla, Smith tons put SA in command

Grae­me Smith scored a century in his 100th Test and Hashim Amla was 183 not out as South Africa took control of the first Test against England at stumps on the third day on Saturday.

South Africa closed on 403 for two for a first innings lead of 18 runs at The Oval.

Smith stroked 131 before he played on, via his pad, to Tim Bresnan after lunch but Amla continued the tourists' dominance supported by Jacques Kallis, who was 82 not out at the close.

It was Smith's 25th Test century and he became the seventh player to achieve the feat of scoring a hundred in his hundredth Test after Colin Cowdrey, Gordon Gree­nidge, Javed Miandad, Alec Stewart, Inzamam-ul Haq and Ricky Ponting.

Amla notched his 15th test century while Kallis is eyeing an incredible 43rd.
England are seeking to hold on to their top ranking while the Proteas can leapfrog them if they win the three-match series.

On current form, the tourists have an excellent chance to go 1-0 up, but a placid batting surface could make it difficult to dismiss England a second time, cheaply.
Smith and Amla cashed in while the sun shone and England no doubt rued the dropped chance that skipper Andrew Strauss made at first slip the previous evening when Amla was on 40.

Amla has otherwise been faultless and the ease with which his runs came said much about his ability to penetrate the field against quality bowling as much as the conditions.

score board

England (I Innings): 385.
South Africa (I Innings, O/n: 86/1):
Smith b Bresnan    131
Petersen lbw Anderson    0
Amla (batting)    183
Kallis (batting)    82
Extras (B-1, LB-4, W-1, NB-1)    7
Total (for 2 wkts, 135 overs)    403
Fall of wickets: 1-1, 2-260.
Bowling: Anderson 29-6-90-1, Broad 26-4-87-0, Swann 42-10-99-0, Bresnan 24-2-77-1, Bopara 9-1-29-0, Pietersen 3-0-13-0, Trott 2-0-3-0.

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