Hashim Amla registered his 19th Test century to put South Africa in a commanding position on 325-4 at stumps on day one of the second Test against New Zealand at Port Elizabeth.
The South Africa No.3 made the most of a life when dropped on 48 and ended the day unbeaten on 106 with Faf Du Plessis well set alongside him on 69 not out.
The right-handed duo shared an unbroken century partnership at the end of the opening day after New Zealand had removed Alviro Petersen before lunch, Graeme Smith and Jacques Kallis in the afternoon session and AB de Villiers shortly after tea.
South Africa had won the first Test by an innings inside three days and skipper Smith won the toss as they sought to build on their lead in the series.
Petersen, fresh from his century in the Cape Town triumph, inside-edged the first ball of the match, by Trent Boult, for a streaky four but his luck ran out when on 21 as he top-edged Doug Bracewell to Jeetan Patel at fine-leg.
A swept boundary by Amla brought up the Proteas' half-century and though Smith was relieved to see a collection of edges drop safe, he also found the boundary several times to reach lunch on 40 with his team 99-1.
The South Africa skipper reached his half-century in the second over of the afternoon, but fell in unfortunate circumstances when edging a leg-side delivery from Neil Wagner (1-88) through to wicketkeeper BJ Watling when on 54.
Kallis (8) scored his only runs with back-to-back boundaries off Bracewell (2-70) before loosely edging the same bowler through to Watling, but Amla reached a 92-ball half-century just two balls after being badly put down by Kane Williamson at gully.
AB de Villiers made a fluent half-century but rather gifted his wicket to the Black Caps when swatting off-spinner Patel (1-60) to Williamson at deep midwicket.
At 223-4 the opening day remained well-balanced, however, Amla and Du Plessis swung the Test in the home side's favour with a majestic century partnership in the evening session.
Amla passed three figures in the 83rd over with his eighth and final boundary of the day, while Du Plessis' storming start Test cricket shows no sign of abating.