As he did in England last summer, when he started with two double-centuries, Graeme Smith put an immediate stamp on his first home series as the South African captain yesterday.
The 22-year-old left-hander's dominant 132 at the Wanderers, his fifth three-figure innings in only his 18th Test, laid the foundation for his team's formidable 368 for 3 on the first day of the first of four Tests against the West Indies.
Punching the ball with power and unerring timing, especially through the leg side, he took 22 fours off the wayward, one-dimensional West Indies bowling, which was limited midway through the second session by a hamstring injury to Chris Gayle. This meant that Brian Lara's only tolerable spin option went off for the rest of the day and perhaps the match.
Smith gave only one chance, on 110, on the last ball before tea from the occasional leg-spinner Ramnaresh Sarwan but Lara could not hold on to the difficult offering at leg slip.
He shared an opening partnership of 149 with Herschelle Gibbs (60), and 80 for the third wicket with Jacques Kallis, who was unbeaten on 87 at the close. Smith was finally caught by Lara off the bowling off Fidel Edwards, before Kallis tightened the screw in an unbroken stand of 128 with Martin van Jaarsveld.
South Africa won toss
South Africa - First Innings
G C Smith c Lara b Edwards 132
H H Gibbs b Collymore 60
J A Rudolph c Lara b Drakes 2
J H Kallis not out 87
M van Jaarsveld not out 69
Extras (lb5 w4 nb9) 18
Total (for 3, 90 overs) 368
Fall: 1-149 2-160 3-240.
To Bat: N D McKenzie, M V Boucher, S M Pollock, R J Peterson, A Nel, M Ntini.
Bowling: Edwards 19-2-78-1; Dillon 20-3 55-0; Collymore 17-1-88-1; Drakes 19-2-70-1; Ganga 4-0-26-0; Sarwan 2-0-7-0; Hinds 9-2-39-0.
Umpires: D B Hair (Aus) and S J A Taufel (Aus).Reuse content