South Africa A skipper, Justin Ontong and Temba Bavuma (55) laid the foundation for a strong finish for their side on Day One of the second unofficial Test against Australia A in Townsville on Thursday, after they were put on the back foot by three early wickets from Gurinder Sandhu (3/60).

They shared a 78-run, fourth-wicket partnership, adding crucial runs after Heino Kuhn, Khaya Zondo and Reeza Hendricks were dismissed for six, three and 32 respectively, leaving South Africa on 56/3 in the 34th over when Ontong walked to the crease.

Bavuma’s half-century came off 151 balls, including six fours, before he became Stephen O’Keefe’s first victim of the day. Ontong went on to share an 82-run, fifth-wicket partnership with Farhaan Behardien (35*), but missed out on a well-deserved century when O’Keefe struck a second time, removing him for 86 off 175 balls to see the bowler finish with 2/40.

South Africa A were 220/5 after 90 overs at stumps, with Behardien joined at the crease by David Wiesse, who has yet to face a ball.