The Castle Lager Proteas completed a productive opening day of their three-day warm-up match against a Rest of South Africa (RoSA) XI at the Bidvest Wanderers Stadium on Tuesday. At stumps the RoSA XI was 24 for 3 with Robin Peterson (2/0) and Vernon Philander (1/8) making the early breakthroughs.
Earlier, Graeme Smith (29) and Alviro Petersen (14) had braved out the opening hour in lively conditions with an opening partnership of 46 after winning the toss and opting to bat. The pair departed in successive overs, Petersen bowled by an excellent delivery from left-arm seamer, Beuran Hendricks and Smith caught at point off the bowling of Wayne Parnell.
Faf du Plessis (36) and JP Duminy (36) stabilised the innings with a 59-run fourth-wicket partnership, with Du Plessis showing good application in his new role at No.4.
"The wicket was pretty tough," Du Plessis said. "We would normally never have chosen to bat first but, because we are trying to get as much as we can from this exercise, we took the conditions on. There was a lot of movement; it was a "tennis bally" surface, so personally I got out what I needed. I wanted to spend some time getting back into Test cricket mode of leaving well and being defensively solid."
The Proteas were bowled out for 300, as Vernon Philander continued to showcase his credentials as an all-rounder with a top-score of 58 not down the order. The tail-enders received some valuable time in the middle, with Robin Peterson (24), Dale Steyn (36) and Rory Kleinveldt (33) making good contributions.
"The 7 to 11 aspect of the batting is going to be a crucial part of this series," Du Plessis said. "They (Australia) also have a long batting line-up and it’s something that we are going to spend a lot of time on. We see it as a crucial part of the Test series."
Hendricks was the pick of the RoSA bowlers, finishing with figures of 3/52. Other contributions were from Simon Harmer 3/101 and two wickets each for Ryan McLaren and Wayne Parnell.