Amla, Petersen centuries put SA on top

In-form Hashim Amla and debutant Alviro Petersen hit centuries to help South Africa take early control of the second and final Test against India on Sunday.

Amla remained unbeaten on 114 after sharing in a second wicket stand of 209 with Petersen to guide the tourists, who lead the series 1-0, to 228 for two at tea on the opening day.

Petersen was caught behind off left-arm paceman Zaheer Khan for exactly 100 four overs before the break leaving Jacques Kallis, who has yet to get off the mark, at the crease with Amla.

South Africa are bidding for a first series victory in India in nearly a decade after winning the opening Test in Nagpur by an innings and six runs.

After South Africa elected to bat first, Zaheer got the early breakthrough India had hoped for when he dismissed Graeme Smith for four with a beauty after the opener decided to play despite a painful finger injury.

The South African skipper was bowled through the gap between bat and pad in a dismissal similar to the first test but soon it was Amla who was giving reminders of Nagpur, where he made 253 not out, as he and Petersen put the tourists back in control.

Lucky to be dropped at 60 by Vangipurappu Laxman at slip, Amla quickly recovered his composure and brought up his century with a cover drive to the boundary off paceman Ishant Sharma. He hit 14 fours and a six.

The 29-year-old Petersen was handed a Test debut after wicketkeeper Mark Boucher was ruled out of the match with a back injury. AB de Villiers was keeping wickets in his place.

Opening in place of Ashwell Prince, Petersen hit 16 fours as he flicked, pulled and drove India’s seamers and used his feet nicely to spinners Harbhajan Singh and Amit Mishra.

Petersen continued with his exciting strokeplay and, although he got bogged down in the 90s, finally got his reward when he reached his century with a single off Mishra.

India, who must draw the series to hold on to the world number one ranking, brought in fit-again Laxman to bolster the middle order. – Reuters

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