Joe Root was forced to lead from the front on his first day as England captain and responded brilliantly, hitting a tenacious 184 not out against South Africa to lead his team out of deep trouble and to 357-5 on Day 1 of the opening Test on Thursday.
Root's 12th test century was invaluable, transforming a nightmarish start to his time as captain when England was 76-4, to a promising one by stumps on the first day of the four-test series.
He marshalled momentum-changing partnerships of 114 with Ben Stokes (56) and an unbroken 167 with Moeen Ali (61 not out) to put England in control.
Root made the most of a number of let-offs: When he was on five, a top-edged hook dropped just over the head of the fine leg fielder. An outside edge flew through JP Duminy's hands at gully when Root was on 16. And then on 149, Root was stumped off Keshav Maharaj but was called back for a no-ball.
Vernon Philander snatched three first-session wickets for South Africa, but the early advantage for the tourists disappeared after lunch as Root's first decision as captain — to bat after winning the toss — ultimately paid off.