South Africa 540 India 82-0: Amla hits 159 to turn heat on India

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The Independent Online

Hashim Amla was elated after scoring his first overseas century for South Africa in the first Test against India here in Chennai yesterday.

Amla's 159 led the visitors to 540 all out before India reached 82 without loss by the close of the second day. The No 3 batsman handled the home spinners and the heat for almost seven hours to register his fourth Test century.

"It was a good wicket to bat on," Amla said, "but they were the hottest conditions I've ever batted in. That was the most difficult challenge. It is always special to score a hundred in the sub-continent, it gives you a lot of confidence. It is a special moment because it came away from home."

Amla, who hit his maiden Test hundred against New Zealand in 2006 in his fourth match and went 23 innings without another, was eventually run out after a mix-up with Mark Boucher, who made 70. Amla, 24, said the innings was second only to his career-best 176 not out against New Zealand in last year's home series when he scored tons in two successive Tests.

"I will rate it up there, maybe No 2," Amla said. "The 176 was special because it was a trying time, my career depended on it."