De Villiers, Kallis put South Africa right on top

April 4th, 2008 - 8:39 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Harbhajan Singh
By Avishek Roy
Ahmedabad, April 4 (IANS) A.B. de Villiers’ classy double century and his record fifth-wicket stand with Jacques Kalli put South Africa in total command of the second cricket Test as they ended the second day at 494 for seven in reply to India’s first-innings score of 76. De Villiers (217 unbeaten) and Jacques Kallis (132) dashed Indian hopes of any comeback into the match with a 256-run stand here at the Sardar Patel Stadium at Motera.

Rain came as a relief to the beleaguered Indians when 12.4 overs were still to be bowled.

With three more days to go, the visitors have a massive 418-run lead and they can put enormous pressure on the Indian batsmen in when they go into bat a second time.

On a wicket where India lasted just 20 overs and less than one session, South Africans batted 141.2 overs and 626 minutes to exhibit that the wicket has no demons in it. In 77.2 overs bowled in the day, the hosts managed just three wickets.

De Villiers was a picture of concentration and exhibited excellent footwork to negate the spin of skipper Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh. His 333-ball double century contained 17 boundaries and two massive sixes and it is the highest score by a South African against India, the previous best being 196 by Harschelle Gibbs at Port Elizabeth in 2001-02.

Harbhajan (4-135), Sreesanth (2-87) and skipper Kumble (1-78) were the wicket- takers.

The stand between De Villiers and Kallis erased the 236-run partnership against India between present India’s coach Gary Kirsten and Andrew Hudson in 1996-97, also at Port Elizabeth.

South Africa were in a spot of bother at 117 for four Thursday, but De Villiers and Kallis made sure that there were no hiccups Friday, denying the Indian bowlers any early breakthrough.

Kallis romped to his century with a boundary just after lunch to register his second Test century against India and 30th overall. He hit 14 boundaries and a six in his is century which came in 275 balls.

Earlier, Irfan Pathan and Harbhajan started the proceedings for India in the morning but ended up with no result. Pathan was lackluster in his opening spell Friday, while Harbhajan’s odd deliveries did trouble the South African batsmen.

However, it was Sreesanth, who troubled the batsmen with the new ball, especially Kallis with some exhilarating short stuff.

Skipper Kumble tried a few options but none was effective.

In the morning session, De Villiers batted resolutely to hit his maiden century against India as South Africa reached 306 for four at lunch.

India were also betrayed by luck a Harbhajan delivery to Kallis hit the stumps but the bails did not fell. After that a few leg before appeals were also turned down and the hosts also wasted a few run out chances.

De Villiers was in a punishing mood and brought up his fifth Test century off 174 balls with the help of 11 boundaries.

The Indian batsmen will now have to play out of their skin to save the match, let alone winning it.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Posted in Sports |