Kallis hits his 33rd Test century [AFP]
After a poor start at Newlands, Jacques Kallis led another South Africa charge with a commanding century to lift the Proteas to 279 for six on the first day of the third Test.

Kallis was the inspiration South Africa needed, coming to the crease with the hosts reeling on 46 for two after being sent into bat. Midway through the afternoon session they had slumped to 127 for five.

But the experienced all-rounder played a straight bat to everything England threw at him on the way to his century, reaching the close on 108 not out with Dale Steyn on 26.

It was a crucial innings by Kallis for a team under pressure after losing the second Test in Durban by an innings and 98 runs to go 1-0 down in a four-match series.

Early end

Wicketkeeper Mark Boucher made a fluent 51 and Steyn also shared a crucial partnership with Kallis before bad light ended play early with just over six overs remaining.

It was Kallis' 33rd Test century, his sixth at Newlands and his third in successive Tests against England at the ground.

Kallis reached his century shortly before the second new ball was due when he hit a full toss from part-time spinner Kevin Pietersen to the wide mid-off boundary for his 11th boundary. He had faced 173 balls.

First day scorecard

South Africa first innings

G Smith c Prior b Anderson 30
A Prince c Prior b Anderson 0
H Amla lbw b Onions 14
J Kallis not out 108
A de Villiers c Strauss b Swann 36
J-P Duminy c Prior b Swann 0
M Boucher lbw b Broad 51
D Steyn not out 26
Extras 14
Total (for six wickets, 83.2 overs) 279
Fall of wickets: 1-1, 2-46, 3-51, 4-127, 5-127, 6-216

Rain delayed the start of play by half an hour and Andrew Strauss' decision to bowl first paid an early dividend.

England seamers James Anderson and Graham Onions removed Ashwell Prince for nought and Hashim Amla (14) in the morning as South Africa limped to 51 for two at lunch.

Captain Graeme Smith, badly dropped by Graeme Swann in the slips on one, fell to Anderson for 30 early in the afternoon session and when Swann struck twice in two balls the touring side, 1-0 up in the series, looked well placed.

A shortened morning had been played under overcast skies but the sun came out after lunch and Kallis and De Villiers batted brightly, adding 76 runs off 126 balls.

Swann, man of the match in the first two Tests, ended a 76-run third wicket stand between Kallis and de Villiers when he had the latter smartly caught at short midwicket by Strauss for 36.

Golden duck

Ashwell Prince was out for a duck [AFP]
JP Duminy edged a beautiful delivery that drifted in and turned away to depart for a golden duck.

The left-hander was also dismissed first ball in his previous innings in Durban.

The double-strike left South Africa in dire straits on 127 for five but Boucher survived the hat-trick ball.

Kallis stroked the ball sweetly around Newlands for 11 fours off 188 balls, hardly playing a rash stroke in over four hours at the crease.

Boucher shared a stand of 89 for the sixth wicket, batting with typical determination and hitting seven fours in his 31st Test half-century before Stuart Broad trapped him lbw.

Steyn was promoted to number eight after making 47 in Durban, scoring freely in an unbeaten partnership of 63 to drag South Africa firmly back into the match.

Veteran fast bowler Makhaya Ntini was dropped from the South African team and replaced by Friedel de Wet.

Source: Agencies