After steering South Africa to a commanding 291-2, Jacques Kallis is edging ever-closer to his maiden double-century.
You couldn’t have predicted a day-end score after watching the opening half hour. India had the Proteas on the rack at 6-2 with two soft dismissals bringing two new batsmen to the crease.
The battling Ashwell Prince was unlucky to be given out when a fierce Zaheer Khan-bouncer ballooned off his armguard into the clutches of MS Dhoni. Graeme Smith failed to move his feet to a delivery that was just short of a length. Zaheer celebrated as the South African captain departed, the sight of Smith’s shattered stumps giving the disappointing crowd something to crow about. South Africa were in trouble.
Kallis joined Hashim Amla in the middle, and from there the spectators were treated to a great display of composed batting. Amla played the anchor role while Kallis counter-attacked, lofting the Indian spinners into the sparsely-populated stands.
The Proteas pair continued to dominate in the second session where Kallis notched up his century. Amla scored slowly, but was always in control, and after the final drinks break in the third session, the Proteas No 3 claimed his eighth Test hundred.
The Indians will regret several missed chances in the field while the South Africans will want to push home their advantage on day two. According to the pitch report, this Nagpur track will play well on the first three days. If South Africa can amass a total of 500-plus, India will be under pressure to save the Test.
Together, Amla and Kallis have scored 285 for the third wicket. Kallis is often criticised for his failure to surpass the 200-mark, but he’s knocking on the door in Nagpur.
This innings will be described as one of his best, as he first arrived at the crease when his team was in crisis. Day two will be about batting India out of the Test, but also about reaching the milestone that has eluded him for far too long.
South Africa (1st innings) – 291-2
Jacques Kallis 159*, Hashim Amla 115*, Zaheer Khan 2-67.
For the full scorecard, click here.