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Smith Leads The Way For South Africa In Bloemfontein

South Africa 299-1 (Smith 137no, Amla 103no) v Bangladesh

1st Test, Bloemfontein, day one

South African captain Graeme Smith registered his 17th Test century and third against Bangladesh as his side took complete control of the first test in Bloemfontein having been invited to bat first on the opening day.

Smith was unbeaten on 137 and Hashim Amla on 103 when play ended with South Africa having overcome a slow start to dominate proceedings.

Smith and opening partner Neil McKenzie put on their 10th successive half-century stand in Tests and extended their partnership to 102 before McKenzie was the first man to fall in the afternoon session having made 42.

Hashim Amla continued his superb form of the One Day series to race to 73 not out from 100 balls.

In the morning, Bangladesh's three seam bowlers all got some movement in helpful conditions but were unable to make the breakthroughs that captain Mohammad Ashraful would have been hoping for having called correctly.

The first hour saw just 22 runs added as Mashrafe Mortaza and Mahbubul Alam bowling with good discipline and conceding just three boundaries before the runs began to flow in the second hour of play.

Smith crashed one four through point and another through midwicket as he punished anything wide of off stump or too close to his pads.

McKenzie was more patient, hitting seven fours in all, the pick of them a pulled boundary off of Shahadat Hossain.

Undoubtedly it was South Africa's session,with Bangladesh competing, but there was only one side in it after lunch, when South Africa stepped up the run rate despite (or perhaps because of) the loss of McKenzie, who was caught having lofted a drive to Mehrab Hossain junior at backward point off of Shahadat.

As hard as Bangladesh tried, and as good as their outfielding was, they were unable to stop the advances of Smith and Amla, although Mushfiqur Rahim missed a stumping chance with Smith in his 80s.

The left-hander, who has already twice passed 200 against the Tigers, reached his century by lofting Naeem Islam over the infield for his 13th four.

Amla matched Smith stroke for stroke and reached his century shortly before the players left the field with Bangladesh ruing a dropped chance in the slips.

The tourists handed a debut to batsman Imrul Kayes and picked Mortaza after he was declared fit having suffered with back problems throughout the tour.

South Africa: Graeme Smith (captain), Neil McKenzie, Hashim Amla, Jacques Kallis, Ashwell Prince, AB de Villiers, Mark Boucher (wicket-keeper), Paul Harris, Morne Morkel, Dale Steyn, Makhaya Ntini

Bangladesh: Zunaed Siddique, Tamim Iqbal, Imrul Kayes, Mohammad Ashraful (captain), Mehrab Hossain junior, Shakib Al Hasan, Naeem Islam, Mushfiqur Rahim (wicket-keeper), Mashrafe Mortaza, Shahadat Hossain, Mahbubul Alam

© Cricket World 2008