Derbyshire v South Africans, Tour match, Derby, 1st day August 10, 2012

De Villiers leads charge as bowlers suffer

Derbyshire 75 for 1 (Khawaja 36*) trail South Africans 365 for 4 dec (De Villiers 97, Duminy 69, Du Plessis 68*) by 290 runs

It was a struggle for the bowlers at the County Ground in Derby, despite the green pitch, as both the Derbyshire and the South African attacks conceded heavily. Over 400 runs were scored and only five wickets taken on a day that belonged to batsmen.

The South Africans declared after posting 365 runs and having given most of their middle order and some of the fringe players a bat. Unlike the tour match against Worcestershire, they did not give their bowlers time in the middle on this occasion.

AB de Villiers was the standout performer for the South Africans and retired three runs short of a century. Hashim Amla laid the foundations with a sprightly 42 and JP Duminy contributed with 69, while Faf du Plessis came good in his first appearance in whites for the national side with an undefeated 68 and Albie Morkel weighed in with 49 not out.

In response, Debyshire's South Africa-born opener Wayne Madsen and Australia's Usman Khawaja reached the close having seen off South Africa's new-ball attack and tucked into some of the more wayward change bowlers. The only wicket to fall on the hosts' side was that of Matt Lineker, who got a thin outside edge off Vernon Philander's bowling and was caught by back-up gloveman Thami Tsolekile.

Jacques Rudolph was the only South Africa batsman to miss out. After three confident boundaries and despite looking comfortable he fell to Alasdair Evans in the fourth over. Amla, who opened the batting in Alviro Petersen's absence and in place of Graeme Smith, despite the captain being declared fit, faced 20 balls without scoring before lashing out.

He took 16 runs off Evans' fifth over, starting with a drive through the covers, then a pull behind square and ending with a straight drive. The sleeping giant had woken up.

Amla also hit the first six of the South Africans' innings, a pull over fine leg, and looked in imperious form. Against the run of play, however, he was bowled when he pushed forward to a straight delivery from Ross Whiteley and missed the ball, ending a stand of 54 to which Duminy had contributed nine runs.

Duminy pushed on with de Villiers on the other end. He brought out the cut, to open his boundary account after 43 balls, while de Villiers had much of his range on display. With an array of spectacular driving, he took 13 runs off a Whiteley over and 11 off the following one from David Wainwright to overtake Duminy and bring up his half-century before lunch, off 46 balls.

The interval did nothing to slow de Villiers, who began the second session with a six over fine leg. He played a chanceless innings and provided a perfect foil to Duminy, who found it tougher to adjust to the conditions. He was circumspect against the seamers, Mark Footitt and Matt Higginbottom, but found run-scoring easier against the left-arm spin of Wainwright.

De Villiers marched towards a century but called time on his innings three runs before, allowing du Plessis to bat for the first time on tour. Shortly after, Duminy offered a tame return catch to Wainwright.

Albie Morkel and du Plessis kept the run-rate above five an over and although both are unlikely to feature in the Test starting XI, made strong cases for themselves. The South Africans had accumulated over 300 runs before tea and batted for less than an hour after before deciding to give the bowlers a run.

Dale Steyn did not bowl but all the other bowlers took part. Petersen is the only member of the South African squad who will not play in the match, as he still needs at least four days to recover from a grade one strain of the right hamstring. Both Smith and Jacques Kallis, who was suffering from lower-back spasms, were named in South Africa's 15.

The South African players wore black armbands to mourn the death of Titans CEO Elise Lombard, who died yesterday.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent