London: Duminy dropped Root on 16, and he remained unbeaten on 184*, leading England to 357 for 5 on Day 1 of the Lord’s Test.
All this in his maiden Test as England captain and that at an iconic venue such as Lord’s. Yes, the winsome Root could not have chosen a bigger occasion.
Joe Root scored an unbeaten 184 against South Africa on the opening day of his first Test as England captain.
Arriving at the crease with his side in trouble at 17-2, the Yorkshireman shared in big partnerships with vice-captain Ben Stokes and Moeen Ali as England closed on 357-5 at Lord's.
Root cashed in after being dropped on 16 and stumped off a no-ball on 149.
Such was Root’s genius that he scored more than 50 per cent of England’s score, albeit they had lost the top order within 14 overs for 49 runs.
Root, who won the toss, was 184 not out and left-hander Moneen Ali 61 not out, with the pair's unbroken stand worth 167 runs.
England were 182 for four at tea, having not lost a wicket in second session.
Stokes took the attack to the Proteas in the first of this four-Test series, driving spinner Keshav Maharaj for six.
But he had a moment of good fortune when 'bowled' off a Morne Morkel no-ball on 44, although the fast bowler had over-stepped considerably.
Root, 33 not out at lunch, completed an 89-ball fifty including seven fours and showed plenty of deft touches, including a late cut boundary off Morkel.
Earlier, perhaps encouraged by the blue skies overhead and Lord's reputation as a good batting pitch, Root opted to bat first.
But a green-tinged surface also gave the bowlers hope of early movement.
Alastair Cook, in his first Test since resigning as England captain in February, had made just three when he flat-footedly chased a Vernon Philander delivery outside off stump and was caught behind.
South Africa-born Keaton Jennings, who played in the same Johannesburg school side as Proteas wicket-keeper Quinton de Kock before opting for England, fell next on his home debut.
Cook's fellow left-handed opener was lbw to Philander for eight after not getting that far forward.
Umpire S Ravi took his time before raising the finger, with England eventually opting against a review.
Replays showed the ball had just pitched outside leg stump and was missing the stumps, meaning a challenge would have seen the Indian's decision overturned.
The 32-year-old Philander, fit following an ankle injury sustained while playing for English county side Sussex, had once again shown that an ability to move the ball both ways more than compensated for a lack of express pace.
He'd now taken two wickets for three runs in eight balls to leave England 17 for two.
Philander's last Test at Lord's saw him return second-innings figures of five for 30 in a 51-run win that gave South Africa a 2-0 victory in a three-match series in 2012.
Root, meanwhile, was fortunate, when on five a top-edged hook off Kagiso Rabada just cleared substitute fielder Aiden Markram at long leg.
Jennings's dismissal may have had some influence on the exit of the third left-handed member of England's top three, Gary Ballance.
Recalled for a third crack at Test cricket after churning out the runs for Yorkshire this season, Ballance was lbw to Morkel, altering his delivery angle to around the wicket, for 20.
Having not reviewed Jennings's dismissal, England challenged Ravi's decision on this occasion.
But with Ballance back on his stumps, technology showed the ball would have hit middle and leg stumps.
Jonny Bairstow, who had performed many a rescue mission for England with the bat, fell for just 10 when he was plumb lbw to Philander after going onto the back foot.
England - 357 for 5 (Root 184*, Ali 61*, Stokes 56, Philander 3-46)