Kallis, Amla lead South African dominance

Updated: 17 December 2010 15:56 IST

Jacques Kallis (102) and Hashim Amla (116) slammed unbeaten hundreds to take South Africa's score to 366/2 at the close of Day 2 of the first Test.

Kallis, Amla lead South African dominance

Centurion:

South Africa had a near-perfect day in Centurion to move into a position of such dominance that after just 125.4 overs of play in the Test, India will be as interested in the weather forecast as the scorecard as they attempt to save the match. On a sunny second day at SuperSport Park, along with the clouds, the demons on the pitch had gone missing, and South Africa's batsmen capitalised. Jacques Kallis made the fastest of his 38 Test centuries and Hashim Amla pushed his Test average against India this year beyond 600 as the home side ended the day 230 ahead with eight wickets remaining.

Full Scorecard

India's away record may have improved dramatically over the past decade but their performance so far at Centurion is reminiscent of the terrible travellers of the pre-Sourav Ganguly era. The South African openers, Graeme Smith and Alviro Petersen, made half-centuries to nearly equal India's total on their own, before Amla and Kallis utterly demoralised the world's No. 1 side with an unbroken 200-run stand.

South Africa had a near-perfect day in Centurion to move into a position of such dominance that after just 125.4 overs of play in the match, India will be as interested in the weather forecast as the scorecard as they attempt to save the Test. On a sunny second day at SuperSport Park, along with the clouds, the demons on the pitch had gone missing, and South Africa's batsmen capitalised. Jacques Kallis made the fastest of his 38 Test centuries and Hashim Amla pushed his Test average against India this year beyond 600 as the home side ended the day 230 ahead with eight wickets remaining.

India's away record may have improved dramatically over the past decade but their performance so far at Centurion is reminiscent of the terrible travellers of the pre-Sourav Ganguly era. The South African openers, Graeme Smith and Alviro Petersen, made half-centuries to nearly equal India's total on their own, before Amla and Kallis utterly demoralised the world's No. 1 side with an unbroken 200-run stand.

India's vaunted batting order had been dismantled on the first day, and there was more punishment in store as the South African openers were rarely troubled in the course of a century partnership. Sreesanth and Ishant Sharma got the new ball to move, and though the batsmen swished-and-missed some times, there were no genuine chances through much of the morning.

Petersen was scratchy early on, and it was Smith who did the bulk of the scoring in a watchful start. After six overs, South Africa had moved to 9 for 0 and it was the introduction of 19-year-old rookie Jaidev Unadkat that increased the run-flow. His third delivery was a gentle half-volley that was driven fluently past mid-off for four by Smith, and bowling in the late-120s, his bouncers were easy put-aways too.

With Petersen also finding his touch, the run-rate began to rise, and Dhoni turned to spin in the hope of a breakthrough. Harbhajan Singh didn't have the best of starts though, slapped for a couple of fours in his first over and then dispatched over midwicket for six in the next. Smith was using the cut effectively against Harbhajan but his downfall minutes before lunch came attempting that shot, top-edging a delivery that bounced extra.

The second session began with Petersen stabbing a wide delivery past point for a boundary, and set the tone for another two hours of superiority as India looked woefully short of firepower. With the aid of a bunch of lovely drives, Petersen seemed set for a second Test century before he inside-edged to short leg, walking immediately though it was a very fine edge.

India were buoyed by the dismissal of the openers, but had very little to cheer for the second half of the day. Amla, with the confidence that comes from scoring a wagonload of runs, made a cavalier century, which lacked his customary serenity. In a rare spell where the South African batsmen were troubled, Harbhajan nearly had Amla caught at short leg after getting one delivery to turn in sharply from outside off. The response from Amla? A swipe over midwicket for six next ball. Amla kept looking to pull the quicks from outside off, and paddled Harbhajan from outside off, in an innings that also had his trademark cover drives and slashes past point.

Keeping him company was Kallis, who was in an even more adventurous mood. Initially, he carted the part-time hit-me deliveries of Suresh Raina, depositing him over deep midwicket for a couple of sixes though there was a fielder for that shot. With the frontline bowlers not making an impact, Sachin Tendulkar was called on to bowl his all-sorts, which didn't curb the runs either - 125 runs coming in 28 overs of the second session.

The batting battering continued after tea, Kallis and Amla picking up 130 off 32 overs. The punishing rate was maintained though there wasn't too much high-risk batting in the final session, with the Indians regularly providing boundary balls. The closest India came to a wicket was a french-cut from Amla on 65. Otherwise, it was a lesson in run- accumulation. With the pitch easing up and the opposition waiting for the end of the day, Amla and Kallis showed their appetite for big scores to bat India out of the match.

Both batsman reached triple-figures towards the end of a flawless day which had been given the perfect start by Morne Morkel. He removed MS Dhoni on the third ball of the day - the Indian captain walking after being struck in front of middle stump. Morkel finished with career-best figures of 5 for 20, and India finished on their overnight score of 136, their third-lowest total in South Africa.

After much talk about an evenly matched top-of-the-table clash, the first two days in Centurion could scarcely have been more one-sided.

Topics : Cricket England MS Dhoni Australia SuperSport Park, Centurion South Africa Virender Sehwag ICC Champions Trophy 2013
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