Hashim Amla registered his career best first class score of 253* as South Africa piled up a huge first innings score of 558 for 6 on a turning pitch at Nagpur. While Amla achieved his maiden double century, Jacques Kallis missed out yet again in achieving the same. The 200-run-score yet again eluded one of the best batsman in Test Cricket history with Kallis falling for 173. India got to bat out four overs before stumps which they did without any damages.
It was a subdued start for the visitors this second day morning with Jacques Kallis unable to score any runs in the first half hour. Before he could dominate the bowling, Kallis got caught bat pad at shortleg giving Harbhajan Singh the much needed wicket. Kallis departed at a personal score of 173 with 15 fours and 2 sixes having faced 351 balls. His partnership with Hashim Amla for the 3rd wicket was a massive 340.
Amla, the other overnight centurion by lunch worked his way to 170 in the company of the busy AB de Villiers and South Africa moved to 379 for 3 which was a slow and steady approach despite having a big platform. Amla had a reprieve in the first hour when Murali Vijay put down a dolly of a catch at short leg off Harbhajan’s bowling.
The post lunch session also went Amla and South Africa’s way with luck not favouring the hosts. AB de Villiers gave the visitors momentum with a few boundaries and also helped himself to his 21st half century. Hashim Amla on his part got to his maiden double century. AB de Villiers (53 from 88 balls with 5 fours) got out a few minutes before Tea miscuing a lofted shot off Virender Sehwag but not before compiling a 118-run stand with Amla. By Tea, India had another success when Harbhajan Singh defeated JP Duminy’s sweep shot with a drifter around the middle stump to have him lbw. Duminy had a very short stay in the middle which lasted 35 balls.
South Africa had got to 477 for 6 at Tea with Amla still fresh on 215. He batted along in a normal way along with Boucher after Tea and it seemed that the Proteas wanted to bat only once in this match. However, Boucher changed tactics at the fag end and fell to Zaheer Khan’s slower one trying to go for a big shot. He scored 39 from 75 balls in a 78-run stand. With less than 30 minutes left in the day’s play, Graeme Smith declared the innings at 558 for 6 in 176 overs. Amla remained unconquered on 253 (from 473 balls with 22 fours).
The tricky four overs in the day’s play were superbly negotiated by Gambhir (12*) and Sehwag (9*) and India knocked off 25 runs off the deficit. Both batsmen looked in fine touch and seemed to be enjoying the extra pace offered by Steyn and Morkel on a slow pitch.