From the Vault: Amla stars as Proteas hold off plucky Pakistan in 2007

South Africa and Pakistan have always served up plenty of excitement when they meet on the international scene - regardless of the format. As the 2018 Boxing Day Test between the two nations draws ever closer, we look back at a thrilling clash between these two rivals.

Back in early 2007, when AB de Villiers was still settling into his Proteas role, Mohammed Hafeez was establishing himself, and Makhaya Ntini and Shaun Pollock led the bowling attack, there was a tense affair at Centurion.

It was the opening match of a three-test series, and the visitors batted first. Yasir Hameed (65) and Younis Khan (68) struck half centuries, but Ntini helped himself to five for 83, as Pakistan were bowled out for 313.

De Villiers opened the batting with Graeme Smith, but both didn't last long, in the face of some excellent swing bowling by Mohammad Asif. He too shared five for 89, but South Africa's middle order stood up strongly.

Ashwell Prince struck a magnificent 138, while Herschelle Gibbs (94) and Hashim Amla (71) provided the supporting acts. That lifted South Africa to 417 all out, and a lead of 104.

Pakistan's second dig realised 302 runs, with Imran Farhat (68) the only man to pass the 50-mark. Spinner Paul Harris grew in influence as the pitch deteriorated, and his reward was four for 46. Pollock chipped in with three for 60, as South Africa earned themselves a target of 199 to win.

Amla (64*) and Jacques Kallis (60*) then saw the Proteas home with an unbroken stand of 119 on the final day, as South Africa won by seven wickets.

Amla was man of the match for his responsible knocks in both innings, as South Africa took a 1-0 lead in the series.

The match, played on a surface with something for everyone, was the perfect start to the series. It will be no surprise if the 2018/19 series opener serves up a similarly entertaining duel.