Amla hits ton as South Africa consolidate in first Test

March 27th, 2008 - 1:50 pm ICT by admin  

(Lunch report)
By Anand Philar
Chennai, March 27 (IANS) Hashim Amla notched his fourth Test century as South Africa drove home the overnight advantage and went into lunch at 404 for 5 on the second day of the first cricket Test against India here Thursday. There was little respite for India as South Africa, overnight 304 for 4, lost just one wicket in the first session while adding 100 runs to jockey themselves into a commanding position.

Amla was unbeaten on 124 at the break. Keeping him company was Mark Boucher (26). South Africa lost A.B. de Villiers for 44.

India’s hopes of early breakthroughs evaporated in the morning as the overnight not out batsmen De Villiers and Amla continued to pile on runs.

Harbhajan, who began the proceedings from the Walajah Road end, nearly had Amla, whose edge fell just short of lone slip Rahul Dravid. A couple of streaky shots followed. But with skipper Anil Kumble opting for a second new ball, the South Africans batted freely.

The new ball had little impact. Amla punished Sreesanth with three consecutive boundaries on the off side to get to his fourth Test century and his first against India, moving from 91 to 103 off 173 deliveries (14×4s).

At the other end, de Villiers easily countered Rudra Pratap Singh while stepping up the pace. The Indian bowlers got increasingly frustrated.

Sreesanth, bowling his third over with the second new ball, then chose to needle de Villiers and finally had his wicket, caught behind by Dhoni.

The temperamental fast bowler sent down the first delivery when de Villiers was still adjusting his gloves. It led to a brief hold up with umpire Tony Hill having a word with Kumble.

De Villiers was then beaten twice outside the off-stump and each time, Sreesanth indulged in an eyeball confrontation with the batsman at the end of his follow-through.

The 24-year-old South African batsman then stepped out and slammed Sreesanth through midwicket for a boundary and two balls later, edged to Dhoni after having made a 58-ball 44 (8×4s).

Sourav Ganguly replaced R.P. Singh, with the Indians hoping that the veteran’s “golden arm” would do the trick. But he too made no impression on the South Africans and was taken off after a three-over spell for 12 runs.

Meanwhile, Sreesanth nearly had Boucher, who was caught plumb in front, but umpire Hill turned down a vociferous appeal.

It was not long before the double spin attack came into play with Kumble and Harbhajan in charge. But Amla and Boucher survived to lunch.

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