Amla double-century punishes weary India

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The Independent Online

Hashim Amla admitted his maiden Test double century felt all the better for having come in India.

The 26-year-old, whose grandparents came from India, amassed an unbeaten 253 as South Africa declared their first innings on 558 for six on the second day of the first Test in Nagpur.

"A double century is always special, be it any opposition," Amla, who shared a 340-run partnership with Jacques Kallis (173), was quoted as saying by BBC Sport. "But obviously it feels great that it came on Indian soil.

"The most important thing was to get the team to a winning position.

"My game plan was to stay at the wicket for as long as possible and put the team in a strong position."

"Batting for the whole day for two days is definitely something that pleased me the most."

It was tough work for India, whose bowlers performed better than their figures suggested and whose openers faced a potentially testing four-over mini-session after Proteas skipper Graeme Smith went for a surprise early declaration.

India finished the day on 25 without loss, 533 runs behind.

"Our bowlers bowled their hearts out," said coach Gary Kirsten. "You have days when you do not really get the results that you want, but from my point of view, I am very happy with the effort that we put in.

"If the batting from the other side is really good, then you must acknowledge that. Amla played a superb innings. Both Kallis and he batted exceptionally well.

"Full credit to them, they did a fantastic job considering they came in to bat when they were two down for six."