BLOEMFONTEIN // Graeme Smith stroked a half-century as South Africa made a solid start on the first day of the first Test against Bangladesh. South Africa had reached 154-1 when rain brought an early tea, with the captain Smith unbeaten on 73. Bangladesh, who won the toss and elected to bowl, made an encouraging start as they limited the home side to just 22 runs in the first hour.
But Smith, assisted by Neil McKenzie in an opening stand of 102, wrested control and began to bat with more fluency as he stroked 10 fours off 130 balls. Smith and McKenzie extended their world record of successive Tests with an opening stand of more than 50 to a 10th successive match. In the final Test against England at the Oval in August, the pair bettered the previous mark of eight between the West Indians Roy Fredericks and Gordon Greenidge in 1976-77, while the Englishmen Jack Hobbs and Herbert Sutcliffe twice achieved seven half-century stands in successive Tests.
McKenzie was dismissed nearly an hour after lunch, his innings of 42 ending with a disappointing stroke as he steered a long half-volley from Shahadat Hossain straight to backward point. Hashim Amla then came in and immediately dominated the bowling as he reached 33 not out off 37 deliveries before the rain break. The Proteas triumphed 2-0 in the recent three-match one-day series between the nations.
The second match of the two-Test series starts on Nov 26 at Centurion. * Agencies