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04 Apr 2008 07:41
AB de Villiers scored an unbeaten century and Jacques Kallis is poised to register a ton of his own in helping South Africa tighten their grip of the second Test against India on Friday.
The overnight fifth-wicket pair displayed a combination of assured footwork with soft hands against India’s experienced spinners to continue South Africa’s dominance of the match in an absorbing morning session on the second day.
The duo were tested by the medium-pacers after the second new ball was taken during the 18th over of the day but dug deep to guide the visitors to 306 for four at lunch, a massive first-innings lead of 230.
Resuming at 223-4 after their pace attack had dismissed the hosts for a paltry 76 runs within a session, Kallis (97 not out) and de Villiers (102 not out) took their overnight century stand to 189 after a testing first hour from Harbhajan Singh.
Left-arm seamer Irfan Pathan bowled a tight four-over opening spell conceding just four runs but it was off-spinner Harbhajan, who took three wickets on the first day, who posed the biggest threat to the batsmen.
De Villiers was adventurous against spin as he used his feet to Harbhajan, who gave away just 16 runs in his eight-over spell.
Resuming on his overnight 59, De Villiers scored the day’s first boundary in the 12th over when he delicately cut Harbhajan past slip and later reached his fifth century with a paddle shot off part-time seamer Saurav Ganguly to the fine leg fence.
He hit 11 boundaries in all as the pair put on a record stand for the fifth wicket for South Africa against India.
Kallis, on 60 overnight, was adroit in his approach to the spinners, but opened up against the pacemen as he whipped left-armer Rudra Pratap Singh to the mid-wicket fence and hit Pathan past the bowler to the fence in his 90s.
On Thursday, spearhead Dale Steyn finished with five wickets after Makhaya Ntini claimed three victims in 12 deliveries to rip through India’s top order in bowler-friendly conditions after the hosts won the toss and opted to bat.
The first Test in Chennai last week ended in a high-scoring draw while the third and final Test of the series in Kanpur starts on April 11. - Reuters
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