New Delhi:Openers Virender Sehwag and Wasim Jaffer have given India a sound start in reply to South Africa's imposing first innings score in the opening Test match at Chennai.
Sehwag (52 not out) and Jaffer (25 not out) helped India reach 82 without loss at stumps on day two after South Africa rode on Hashim Amla's composed century to post 540, its highest Test total in India.
South Africa's previous highest total on India's dusty, low-bounce pitches was 510 for nine during the drawn Kanpur Test match in 2004.
Amla's 159 led South Africa to a strong position as the tourists frustrated the Indian attack on a placid track by adding 236 brisk runs to the overnight score of 304-4.
Hashim Amla's maiden century against India helped bolster South Africa's position in the Test series opener.
At tea, Mark Boucher was batting on 62 and Morne Morkel on 25, having added 45 runs for the seventh wicket.
Amla's 159 boosted South Africa's first innings score to 501-6 at tea on the second day, with the tourists thwarting the Indian attack by adding 197 for the loss of a wicket each in two sessions of play.
South Africa lost overnight batsmen A.B. de Villiers (44) and Amla on a placid track that offered no assistance to the Indian bowlers, who were forced to toil under the blazing sun at southern Chennai's Chepauk stadium.
Amla was unbeaten on 124 as the South Africa total swelled to 404 for five wickets at lunch.
The hapless Indian bowlers tasted success just once in this session when S Sreesanth had AB de Villiers (44) caught behind in the eighth over of the day.
Sreesanth proved unlucky as he trapped Boucher, then on 10, plumb in front but umpire Tony Hill felt otherwise and turned down the appeal.
Resuming on 304 for four, both Amla and de Villiers went after the Indian bowlers and scored at a brisk pace.
Realising the futility of pace, India skipper Anil Kumble began with spin attacks from both ends but neither he nor Harbhajan Singh could make a dent as both the batsmen looked rock solid.
Amla chose Sreesanth for special treatment and hit the Kerala speedster for three successive boundaries to breeze to his first century against India and there was no let-up even after he achieved the milestone.