South Africa 455 for 3 (Amla 172, Kallis 160*) v Somerset
Hashim Amla and Jacques Kallis launched South Africa's tour of England in ominous fashion, as a depleted Somerset attack was put to the sword in front of a packed Sunday crowd at Taunton. Both men posted scores in excess of 150, while their 216-run partnership for the third wicket was their third-highest in the past 12 months, following their stands of 330 at Johannesburg and 220 at Centurion, against New Zealand in November.
Such was their dominance, especially during the final session, that neither man could be prised from the crease in conventional fashion. Amla was eventually run out for 172 by Zander de Bruyn at point, after Kallis called him through for a non-existent single, but it was Kallis's own departure that gave the South African camp the most cause for concern.
Having brought up his hundred from 125 balls, Kallis treated Somerset's bowlers with disdain thereafter. He flogged Steffan Jones on the up over cover for a vast six, and reached 152 from 153 balls when he drilled Andrew Caddick - armed with the new ball - through extra cover for his 21st four. Caddick's response, however, was a bouncer that struck Kallis a fearful blow on the elbow.
Though Kallis continued batting after lengthy treatment from the physio, Shane Jabaar - and even added two more fours from consecutive balls - he was clearly in some pain when he pulled off his gloves and retired hurt in the same Caddick over, for 160 from 157 balls. A spokesman for the South African team said that Kallis had suffered "bruising but no structural damage", although he has 12 days to recover before the first Test at Lord's on July 10, and the reports at the close of play are that he will be fine.
The injury took the gloss off a comprehensive batting display by a South African side that will have been encouraged by England's feeble showing in the fifth and final ODI against New Zealand on Sunday. They have arrived in the country full of intent, and their side for today's fixture featured nine of the probable starting line-up at Lord's - the exceptions being the injured captain, Graeme Smith, and the rested strike bowler, Dale Steyn. Somerset, by contrast, chose to omit six of their regular first-team players, including the captain, Justin Langer, and Marcus Trescothick.
In Smith's absence, Ashwell Prince won the toss and chose to bat, although the day did not begin quite as South Africa would have intended. Caddick, playing in only his third first-class fixture of the season following a persistent back problem, pitched full and straight and trapped Neil McKenzie with the very first ball of the match.
It was a false dawn for Somerset, however. Amla and JP Duminy combined in a 146-run stand for the second wicket, and batted all the way through to lunch without giving even a hint of a chance. Duminy is unlikely to feature in the Tests at this stage of the tour, but he showed his class with a boundary-laden 64. He went to lunch on 59 not out, but in the second over after the resumption, Caddick struck again, inducing a glove down the leg-side, for Craig Kieswetter to complete a good diving catch.
Amla, however, made no such error. He had required 19 balls to get off the mark, but that consolidation period proved to be time well spent. He brought up his half-century from 63 balls with a top-edged pull for four off Jones - arguably his only false stroke of the day - and hurtled to his hundred in just 42 more balls, with a blaze of boundaries off the legspinner, Mike Munday - a lofted drive for six over wide long-on, and three further fours, all from consecutive deliveries.
Caddick rotated his resources as best he could, but with Charl Willoughby, Alfonso Thomas and Ben Phillips all missing from Somerset's first-choice attack, he had little firepower to respond to South Africa's onslaught. Kallis had a moment of good fortune when Caddick squared him up and a thick edge flew through the slips for four, and he was later dropped on 113 by Kieswetter in Wes Durston's first over. Durston's next ball, however, was smacked dismissively over the covers, and for the remainder of his innings, he played a stroke virtually every ball - even after he had been thwacked on the elbow.
After Kallis's departure, AB de Villiers and Prince settled in for a 45-run stand that carried South Africa to an imposing 455 runs in the day. Kallis's setback aside, they have started their tour as emphatically as any side could hope.