LONDON - Graeme Smith built on a remarkable record of success in England as he and Hashim Amla put South Africa in control on the third day of the first Test against England at the Oval on Saturday.
Smith hit 131 in his 100th Test and Amla batted for nine hours and nine minutes to make 183 not out as South Africa reached 2-403 at the close, a lead of 18 runs with eight wickets in hand.
Smith and Amla put on a record 259 for the second wicket and there was no respite for the bowlers as Jacques Kallis (82no) joined Amla in an unbeaten third wicket stand of 143.
"It was surreal," said Smith.
"A lot of thoughts and emotions went through my head when I reached the hundred but I still had in the back of my mind there was a job to be done. To have played 100 Tests is a terrific achievement and to be able to reach a milestone like this is the cherry on the top. It feels great."
On a slow, dry pitch, offering some variable bounce and turn for the spinners, Smith and Amla dug in and played risk-free cricket to grind down England's bowling attack. Their partnership was two runs higher than the mark set by Smith and current coach Gary Kirsten at Lord's in 2003.
It took Smith 160 balls to reach his fifty but he unleashed a flurry of boundaries in the next hour and needed just 41 deliveries to notch his second half-century. He raised his 25th Test century two balls before lunch with a square cut for four off Tim Bresnan.