Kent v South Africans, 1st day, Canterbury July 13, 2012

Tahir's SA best rounds up Kent

South Africans 31 for 1 trail Kent 210 (Powell 48*, Tahir 4-31) by 179 runs

The South African bowlers took six wickets for 64 runs after tea to dismiss Kent for a moderate total on a placid pitch. Imran Tahir cleaned up the tail to record his best figures for his adoptive country. Morne Morkel was the other standout bowler of the day and showed massive improvement from his outing in Taunton while using the short ball to good effect.

After a Kent opening stand of 81 defied the South African attack for 107 minutes in the morning session, only Mike Powell's 48 offered any further resistance. The rest of the line-up was undone by bounce from Morkel and flight from Tahir. In reply, Graeme Smith and Alviro Petersen looked set to usher the South Africans safely to the close but Smith was caught behind after playing himself in carefully and starting to settle.

The Kent opening pair, Daniel Bell-Drummond and Sam Northeast, started confidently. Although Morkel threatened with his bouncer, he occasionally overpitched and both batsmen were quick to take advantage. The duo brought up 50 inside 14 overs, with 32 runs in boundaries.

The first time either of them played and missed was in the 17th over, when Bell-Drummond attempted to drive against Morkel. Steyn caused them further problems when he was brought back on. He appealed for a catch at slip off Northeast but only Steyn and Smith, who was the fielder, seemed interested. In the next over, Northeast dabbed at one and was caught Smith, successfully on that occasion.

Bell-Drummond went into lunch on 42 and did not add to his score. In the first over after the break, he was caught behind off Morkel, giving AB de Villiers his first victim in his role as wicket-keeper in this series. Vernon Philander removed a scratchy looking Ben Harmison lbw, with a delivery that pitched on middle and off and seemed to be hitting. Morkel got rid of Alex Blake's the same way after a 25-minute rain delay.

Smith gave the ball to JP Duminy immediately after tea, a move that seemed to be a stop-gap but paid dividends. Jacques Kallis took a sharp catch to his left at slip to give Duminy the wicket of Sam Billings. Just as Tahir seemed fated to go another innings without much to show for it, Kallis changed that. He backpedalled to take a catch off a sweep from Matt Coles which opened the door for Tahir.

He went on to bowl Adam Riley and Ivan Thomas, the first with a googly, the second a legbreak and grew in confidence with each success. Charlie Shreck made Tahir the top wicket-taker for the South Africans when he charged down the pitch and lofted him to mid-on. Smith ran from mid-off to complete the catch.

Smith and Petersen had to see off 13 overs to the close of play but Smith fell two overs from the close. He was caught behind playing away from his body off Shreck, leaving Hashim Amla to partner Alviro Petersen to the end of the first day.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent