Hall revels in new role

South Africa 230-4 v India

The makeshift opener Andrew Hall batted all day for 78 not out as South Africa reached 230 for 4 on the opening day of the First Test against India here. Hall kept India's three-pronged spin attack at bay on a sluggish pitch by taking part in three fighting partnerships after the visitors' captain, Graeme Smith, won the toss and elected to bat.

The makeshift opener Andrew Hall batted all day for 78 not out as South Africa reached 230 for 4 on the opening day of the First Test against India here. Hall kept India's three-pronged spin attack at bay on a sluggish pitch by taking part in three fighting partnerships after the visitors' captain, Graeme Smith, won the toss and elected to bat.

The leg-spinner Anil Kumble struck twice in each of the first two sessions to reduce the visitors to 154 for 4 at tea, but the batsmen showed application against spin at the cost of quick runs. Hall has added 76 for the fifth wicket with Boeta Dippenaar, who is unbeaten on 46.

The all-rounder put on 61 for the first wicket with Smith (37), then added 85 with Jacques Kallis (37). Hall has faced 274 balls and struck nine fours.

Kumble had the left-hander Smith playing on to his stumps and Martin van Jaarsveld leg before, then trapped Kallis lbw before Jacques Rudolph played on to his stumps off his first ball.

Hall was asked to open for the first time in a Test after Herschelle Gibbs pulled out of the tour. He showed soft hands to tackle the spinners on the way to his third Test half-century after India had picked only one paceman, Zaheer Khan.

Smith, who had been reprieved on 33 when the wicketkeeper, Dinesh Karthik, dropped a tough bat-pad chance from the off-spinner Harbhajan Singh, could only watch as the ball squeezed under his defensive shot to hit the off stump.

Kallis, who is playing only as a batsman because of a side injury, completed 6,000 Test runs when he reached 31, becoming only the second South African batsman, after Gary Kirsten, to achieve the milestone. But Kumble trapped him with a straighter ball as he went for a sweep, then removed Rudolph with his next ball.

Hall was dropped on 55 by Kumble at midwicket off Harbhajan, but he and Dippenaar frustrated the flagging attack.

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