South Africa cruised to 4-325 at stumps on the opening day of the Second Test with Amla remaining not out on 106 with Faf du Plessis still with him at the crease on 69.
The Proteas come into the Second Test following a massive innings and 27-run victory in Cape Town, and captain Graeme Smith won the toss in Port Elizabeth and had no hesitation electing to bat first.
Curiously, New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum revealed that he would have bowled first as well but after generating precious movement, pace or bounce out of the wicket by the end of the first day, without question the home side read the conditions better.
The Black Caps left out veteran paceman Chris Martin in favour of Neil Wagner, who only last year qualified to play for New Zealand after moving from South Africa, but the left-armer was no more able than any other New Zealand bowler to grab life out of the wicket.
First Test centurion Alviro Petersen made just 21 for South Africa before Doug Bracewell picked up his scalp, but Smith and Amla then guided the Proteas safely to lunch at 1-99.
Smith looked assured on the way to his 36th Test half-century, but soon after he was out caught behind off Wagner for 54. South Africa was then 2-121 and just 16 runs later Jacques Kallis was out for eight – also caught behind by BJ Watling but this time off Bracewell.
Any chance of a collapse from South Africa was put to bed by AB de Villiers, who looked tremendous in his knock of 51 before out of nowhere Jeetan Patel picked up his wicket and had him caught by Kane Williamson.
The score was then 4-223 and then would be New Zealand's last joy of the day' play, but not the last opportunity they created.
Amla was dropped when on 48 with du Plessis also out caught behind, however, New Zealand blew both chances firstly when Williamson dropped Amla and then by not reviewing the du Plessis appeal. Hot spot would have clearly showed the third umpire that he edged the ball.
Amla and du Plessis survived those scares to cruise to stumps with South Africa 4-325 and the pair putting on an unbeaten 102-run partnership.
Amla remains 106 not out from 211 balls as the 29-year-old recorded the 19th century of his 67-Test career to date. Already with almost 5500 runs, 19 centuries and 67 matches, he is on track to be one of South Africa's most prolific batsmen ever.
Meanwhile, du Plessis' unbeaten half-century continues his remarkable early Test career to now have three half-centuries and an unbeaten, and match-saving, 110 in Australia on debut in just six innings' to date.
The pair will look to further bat New Zealand out of the game throughout the second day.
It was a tough day for the Black Cap bowlers. Bracewell finished with 2-70, Wager 1-88, Patel 1-60, Trent Boult 0-74 and Colin Munro 0-22.