De Villiers, Kallis put SA on top

AB de Villiers scored a maiden unbeaten double hundred and Jacques Kallis struck his 30th century to put South Africa in the driver’s seat against India in the second Test on Friday.

The fifth-wicket pair took their overnight stand to 256—a South Africa record for any wicket against India, who were out for 76 in the opening session of the match.

The visitors, looking for an Asian treble following successes in Pakistan and Bangladesh, were 494-7—a commanding lead of 418—when rain brought an early finish to day two.

The opening match of the three-Test series ended in a high-scoring draw in Chennai last week.

De Villiers, who struck 17 fours and two sixes in his remarkable innings of 217 not out, also shared in a 66-run stand for the sixth wicket with Mark Boucher (21).

Wicketkeeper Boucher’s dismissal, lbw to leg-spinner Anil Kumble, nearly set off a minor collapse when Morne Morkel fell to off-spinner Harbhajan Singh, who took three wickets on the opening day.

Paul Harris (9) was at the crease with De Villiers, who became the first South African to score a double hundred against India, when play was called off 12.4 overs early.

De Villiers and Kallis (132) displayed a combination of assured footwork and soft hands against India’s experienced spinners in the morning, before exerting their dominance to put the match beyond the hosts.

Sweep shot

De Villiers bettered his previous Test-best 178 with a sweep shot off Harbhajan, reminiscent of West Indian great Rohan Kanhai, the ball landing on the rooftop of square-leg.

Resuming on the team’s total of 223-4, De Villiers and Kallis were initially tested by the medium-pacers after the second new ball was taken during the 18th over of the day, but the home attack looked bereft of ideas as the game progressed.

De Villiers, 59 overnight, reached his century with a paddle shot to the fence off part-time seamer Sourav Ganguly, his 150 with a boundary off paceman Rudra Pratap Singh through covers and his 200 with a four off Harbhajan, also through covers.

The experienced Kallis, who is approaching the 10 000-run mark in Tests, reached his century in the second over after lunch with an elegant cover drive to the boundary off Ganguly after resuming on the overnight score of 60.

Medium-pacer Shanthakumaran Sreesanth provided the breakthrough when he had 32-year-old Kallis playing on.

All-rounder Kallis, who scored three centuries in Pakistan last year, hit 14 fours and a six in his remarkable 275-ball knock.

On Thursday, South Africa 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 third and final Test of the series in Kanpur starts on April 11.—Reuters


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