Jacques Kallis smashed his 34th Test hundred as South Africa rallied after a perilous start to take command on day one of the First Test against India here yesterday.
Zaheer Khan had reduced the tourists to 6 for 2 in the seventh over when he dismissed Graeme Smith and Ashwell Prince but Kallis (159 not out) and Hashim Amla (115 not out) guided South Africa to a very healthy total of 291 for 2 at the close. The duo put on a record 285-run stand, an all-time South African record partnership against India.
Kallis produced a chanceless innings, hitting 13 boundaries and two sixes from 290 deliveries, while Amla provided more than adequate support, adding 11 boundaries on the way to his eighth Test hundred.
Kallis, who has never scored a Test double century, moves level with Sunil Gavaskar and Brian Lara on 34 Test hundreds – only Ricky Ponting (39) and Sachin Tendulkar (45) have more.
Despite South Africa's precarious start, Kallis tore into India's bowlers, plundering Ishant Sharma and the spinners Harbhajan Singh and Amit Mishra all over the Vidarbha Cricket Association Ground.
He brought up his ton just before tea, while Amla turned on the style after tea as India's bowlers toiled on a fraught opening day.
Already without batsmen Rahul Dravid and Yuvraj Singh because of injury, the hosts were dealt another setback when VVS Laxman failed to recover in time from a finger problem. Rohit Sharma was then denied his Test debut when he twisted his ankle playing football in the morning warm-up so India were forced to turn to reserve wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha, who earned his Test debut as a specialist batsman.