Nagpur:Indian bowlers toiled without much success as South Africa rode on Hashim Amla's maiden double century to tighten their grip over the first cricket Test.
Amla (253 not out) lit up the second day's proceedings with his unbeaten marathon double century -- a product of more than 11 hours of ceaseless vigil -- even though the co-star of his 340-run partnership Jacques Kallis (173) missed the mark.
Among others, AB de Villiers (53) chipped in with a useful half-century before South Africa declared their first innings at 558 for six, hoping to make some early dents in the remaining four overs of the day.
That, however, did not happen as Indian openers Virender Sehwag (9) and Gautam Gambhir (12) stayed put at the crease, guiding the side to 25 for no loss with the hosts still trailing by 533 runs and needing 314 to avoid follow-on.
The day, however, belonged to Amla, who stood like a rock, frustrating the Indian pacers and spinners alike with his unflappable concentration.
India's slipshod fielding also helped his cause and the home side had only themselves to blame as they let Amla off the hook on as many as four occasions during the right-hander's 473-ball innings which included 22 hits to the fence.
Amla got his first reprieve yesterday when batting on 61, he flashed at a Zaheer Khan delivery and neither Mahendra Singh Dhoni nor Murali Vijay attempted to catch the edge which flew through the stumper and the fielder in first slip.
Again on 82, Amla heaved a sigh of relief when S Badrinath got his dive wrong and allowed the batsman to carry on.
Amla's good fortune continued today as well with Vijay dropping a bat-pad catch when the batsman was on 149 and Harbhajan Singh suffered the agony of seeing the next delivery also kissing the bat and going past Dhoni's gloves on the leg side.
Amla's 340-run stand with Kallis, whose 351-ball 173 included 15 fours besides a couple of sixes, was the cornerstone of South African innings.
For India, Zaheer Khan (3/96) was the most successful bowler, while Harbhajan Singh bled 166 runs for his couple of scalps.
Amla started off in an aggressive fashion today in company of his senior partner Kallis, who looked subdued.
Harbhajan got the well-awaited breakthrough just after the first hour in the morning by having Kallis caught at short leg by Vijay.
Amla played the spinners with great elan and reached his double hundred in the second session of play and found an able ally in de Villiers who often stepped out to negotiate the spinners.