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Smith, Amla tame England bowlers

cricket Updated: Jul 22, 2012 02:57 IST

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South Africa captain Graeme Smith hit a century in his 100th Test and shared a record partnership with Hashim Amla as the Proteas played themselves into a strong position on the third day of the first Test match against England at the Oval in London on Saturday.

South Africa were 277 for two at tea, 108 runs behind England's first innings total of 385. Smith (131) and Amla (131 not out) put on 259 for the second wicket before Smith was bowled off an inside edge, pushing defensively at Tim Bresnan.

It was a record second wicket stand for South Africa against England, beating by two runs the mark set by Smith and current coach Gary Kirsten at Lord's in 2003.

On a dry pitch, already offering variable bounce and turn for the spinners, Smith and Amla dug in and played risk-free cricket to grind down England.

The pair had to work hard in the first hour against the combination of fast bowler James Anderson and off-spinner Graeme Swann.

Brief scores: Eng 385 (M Prior 60, M Morkel 4/72) v SA 187/1 (G Smith 131, H Amla 131*)