Nagpur : Hashim Amla cracked his maiden double century as South Africa dominated the second day of the first cricket Test against India, declaring their first innings at 558 for six here Sunday.
In reply, India were 25 for no loss with Virender Sehwag (9) and Gautam Gambhir (12) seeing off the four overs before stumps.
A good opening partnership would be the key to India’s reply as the middle order is relatively inexperienced in the absence of Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman and Yuvraj Singh, who are sitting out with injuries.
The South African bowling attack led by Dale Steyn would be looking to press home the advantage after the batsmen did their job Sunday.
The South African first innings revolved around Amla, who made an unbeaten 253 and occupied the crease for more than 11 hours, playing 473 balls and stroking 22 fours.
Amla anchored the innings after the fall of Kallis (173) before lunch, dismissed
bat-pad off Harbhajan Singh (2-166) at forward short leg. It was the end of a 340-run stand that pulled South Africa out of trouble after the early fall of openers Saturday.
Kallis added only 14 runs to his overnight score. He struck 15 fours and two sixes in the 351-ball knock. The veteran batsman, who steered the South African innings Saturday, was also looking for his first Test double ton.
Amla, who was 115 at the start of the day, made sure that he does not miss the double century.
Apart from a couple of run out chances and a dropped catch of Amla, the South Africans coasted to the big first innings total without trouble.
Murali Vijay was at the centre of the missed opportunities. Amla got a respite when he got an inside edge off Harbhajan but was dropped by Vijay. AB De Villiers came down the track to play the spinner and was lucky to survive when Vijay’s throw from forward short leg went over the stumps as he was out of the crease.
Amla and De Villiers (53) shared a 108-run stand before the latter gave his wicket to part time spinner Virender Sehwag. De Villiers’ struck five fours in his 88-ball knock.
Amla showed sound temperament and application while playing the spinners, who were getting considerable turn and bounce from the track. Both Amla and De Villiers tackled Harbhajan and Amit Mishra well with good use of their feet.
After JP Duminy (9) was trapped lbw by Harbhajan, Amla and Mark Boucher (39) scored 78 runs before Zaheer Khan (3-96) removed the wicketkeeper. South Africa declared the innings after Amla crossed the 250-run mark.