Jacques Kallis century frustrates England in Centurion
First Test: South Africa 262-4 v England (stumps, day one) Dates: 16-20 December Start time: 0830 GMT Venue: SuperSport Park, Centurion Coverage: Listen to Test Match Special on BBC Radio 4 Longwave, 5 Live sports extra, the Red Button and BBC Sport website. Text commentary on BBC Sport website. Also live on Sky Sports. Match scorecard
By Oliver Brett
Kallis kept England at bay with typical concentration and patience
England's decision to field first in the opening Test backfired as South Africa racked up 262-4 on day one.
Jacques Kallis, in his first game since breaking a rib, hit a terrific unbeaten 112 and his unbroken stand of 103 with JP Duminy (38) gave the hosts the edge.
The pitch was lively in the morning, but England did not capitalise.
Having chosen to play four bowlers, they were hampered by a calf strain to Graham Onions but spinner Graeme Swann took 2-61 from a marathon 24 overs.
Andrew Strauss had backed his seamers to deliver early wickets but they only managed two in the two hours leading up to lunch, and when the wicket then flattened out for the final two-thirds of the day their only wicket-taker was the spinner Swann.
If there was not the copious amount of swing and seam early on that Strauss would have wanted - and the bright sunshine did not help his cause - neither Stuart Broad nor James Anderson were at their best. Broad bowled too short, while Anderson simply lacked consistency.
Kallis began his innings just before lunch, and produced a chanceless innings with 14 fours and a six.
It was the 34-year-old's 32nd Test century and demonstrated exactly why South Africa's media had obsessed about his condition in the lead-up to the match, and why he underwent spells in an oxygen chamber to speed up his recovery.
England, opting to field first on winning the toss for the first time since May 2008, showed two changes from the team which clinched the Ashes series at The Oval in August.
With Ian Bell slotting in at six, the retired Andrew Flintoff was, albeit circuitously, replaced by the fit-again Kevin Pietersen.
Onions took the place of the discarded Steve Harmison, but all of that meant England only had four frontline bowling options - and two of them, Anderson and Swann, were not entirely out of the woods with injury issues.
It helped matters considerably that they were given a huge South African freebie in the second over when Graeme Smith wafted at a ball from Broad that was sailing down the leg-side and got a thin edge through to Matt Prior.
We messed up referrals - Swann
Broad and Anderson were not able to trouble Hashim Amla and Ashwell Prince in any meaningful way, and the inadequacies of England's new-ball pair were shown up when Onions came on to bowl the 13th over.
The Durham man was quickly on the money, taxing the right-handed Amla with deliveries seaming back into the batsman.
He eventually won an lbw appeal against the left-handed Prince, but the batsman exercised his right to refer the decision to the third umpires and was allowed to stand his ground after replays suggested the ball would have cleared the stumps.
Onions remained the main threat for England, and Amla had a slice of luck when edging the Durham man just out of third slip's reach to bring up a valuable 50-run partnership.
But the dice landed in England's favour off the very next ball, when Paul Collingwood threw himself low to his right at second slip to scoop up Amla's edged drive. Onions had earned a hard-fought breakthrough and South Africa were 51-2.
Prince, on 21, was perilously close to joining Amla back in the pavilion when playing an awkward shot off Anderson, with the ball looping towards Alastair Cook at square-leg. Cook got one hand to the ball but could not cling on to a very difficult chance.
Swann gave England some comfort with two wickets between lunch and tea
Lunch was taken at 70-2 - Kallis on seven and Prince on 33 - and after another probing Onions spell it was time for Swann. A bowler with a real knack for making a breakthrough in his first over, he struck gold again when his second delivery burst through the surface, turned and took the outside edge of Prince's bat for Collingwood to take his second catch.
Prince fell five short of a half century, but Kallis was in the mood for a big one and he also injected some acceleration into the run rate, driving Broad through the covers to bring up the 100 before hitting Swann for an on-driven six and a four through midwicket.
It was vital for England to end the Kallis-AB de Villiers stand with conditions easing all the while, and either side of the drinks interval they came close to doing so.
Strauss was persuaded by his bowler Anderson to refer an lbw appeal against Kallis, but the batsman had clearly hit the ball onto his pads.
'Calm' Kallis impresses Prince
Then De Villiers was outside his crease as he drove Swann into the ground, and although Cook missed the stumps with his flick from short-leg, Matt Prior quickly had the bails off. However, the replay showed the extra half-second had given De Villiers enough time to get his bat behind the line and he was able to continue his stand with Kallis.
In an attritional period approaching tea, England used up their final referral when appealing for a bottom edge on a sweep shot by De Villiers off Swann. It did not go their way and the momentum was shifting towards the hosts.
But De Villiers then pushed forward at Swann, the ball took a thick inside edge, and went low to Cook at short-leg. With the score 159-4 at tea England were back in the contest, although Kallis was looking ominous on 51.
Both teams erred on the side of caution during the early part of the final session, until Kallis crisply cracked Anderson away for two boundaries and Duminy launched a big six off Swann.
With Onions now out of action for England, both Collingwood and Trott were pressed into bowling short spells of predictably innocuous medium pace until Strauss took the new ball, with Anderson and Broad.
On 96, Kallis hooked Broad airily, but sufficiently far away from fine leg to reach his fourth Test ton at Centurion and sixth against England. Broad retaliated with his best over of the match, but South Africa held out to reach stumps in a very handy position.
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