Another magnificent century from Hashim Amla left South Africa in a healthy position on day one in the second Test against New Zealand at St George's Park in Port Elizabeth on Friday.
"Hash is a wonderful player and he's been in unbelievable form pretty much his whole career," said AB de Villiers after the Proteas were 325 for four at stumps.
"It's great to have him score another hundred and, once again, we all fed off him which is what got us into such a strong position."
De Villiers said Amla was a calming influence at the crease and when the batsmen were starting to feel the pressure earlier in the day, Amla was able to focus and move on with the game.
"I love batting with him as he's so calm at the crease. He's our rock at number three and, with Jacques Kallis coming in after him, we have the best batting combination in the world, at three and four," he said.
"They steady the ship for us and we can come out and really enjoy our game and feed off them."
The Kiwis missed a chance when Amla, on 48, went after a wide delivery from Trent Boult and was dropped by Kane Williamson in the gully. He went on to score his 19th Test hundred -- his fourth against New Zealand -- in 187 balls with eight boundaries.
Amla and Faf du Plessis added an unbeaten 102 runs for the fifth wicket, with the batsmen on 106 and 69 respectively.
De Villiers had looked set for a big score but, like his three teammates before him, he threw away his wicket, on 51, after coming down the wicket to Jeetan Patel.
Alviro Petersen and Graeme Smith started the morning scoring freely until Doug Bracewell bowled a short delivery which Petersen top-edged to fine-leg for 21.
Smith gloved a delivery from Neil Wagner down the leg-side into the hands of wicketkeeper BJ Watling after scoring 54.
Bracewell won the battle against Kallis who, after smashing two fours was caught behind in without adding to his score of eight.
De Villiers said South Africa would want to bat as long as possible and then try and bowl out the Black Caps twice without having to bat again.
"We believe that if we can bat them out of the game in the first innings, it will put them under a lot of pressure," De Villiers said.
"With our world-class bowling attack, we can put a bit of heat on them early on. If we get around 500, they'll already be thinking of avoiding the follow on."
South African-born Wagner said he enjoyed the challenge of bowling to his two former schoolmates, De Villiers and Du Plessis.
"I tried so hard with every ball to get AB out but it tough out there and the wicket was very slow," Wagner, who took one wicket for 60, said.
"After lunch we took a couple of wickets which got us back into the game but we also let them off the hook a few times and, against a team like South Africa, you have to be patient and not go searching because they put away all the bad balls."
Wagner learnt his cricket at Afrikaans High School for Boys in Pretoria and made his first-class debut in 2005-06 for Northerns. He represented the National Academy side before plying his trade overseas.
"After one good ball which Faf hit for four, he looked at me and apologised but then I tried to bump him the next ball and that went for four as well," Wagner said.
"A few quick wickets will get us straight back into the game but we will have to be really tight. If we let it slip like we did towards the end of today, then South Africa will really capitalise on it."