Proteas in top form for Test

NAGPUR - Jacques Kallis and Hashim Amla tuned up for the first Test match against India starting on Saturday with batting displays of the highest order on the second day of the warm-up match against the BCCI President's XI at Nagpur yesterday.

NAGPUR - Jacques Kallis and Hashim Amla tuned up for the first Test match against India starting on Saturday with batting displays of the highest order on the second day of the warm-up match against the BCCI President's XI at Nagpur yesterday.

The match finished in a draw as the Proteas made 354 in 68,4 overs in response to the home team's 318. The pair achieved the dual tasks of spending substantial time in the middle and of playing dominating innings before retiring to give the other players the chance to have valuable middle form as well.

Kallis made 63 off 58 balls with eight fours and three sixes while Amla contributed 72 off 122 balls with 12 fours.

If one included the later contributions from AB de Villiers, who was dismissed on the last ball before tea, and JP Duminy, the Proteas actually scored more than 160 runs in the middle session in 31 overs.

As well as Kallis and Amla played, batting coach Kepler Wessels also pointed to the importance of the performances of Ashwell Prince and Duminy.

"I thought Ashwell hit the ball very well," he said of Prince's innings of 42 off 114 balls with six fours. "He started to come back to his best form at the back end of the domestic season, culminating in his century in the MTN40 final and this was a continuation of that run.

"It was good that JP came into bat when the spinners were bowling because that is the role he will have to play in the Test series." Duminy finished on a classy 39 off 47 balls with four fours.

Wessels stressed the importance of the top six batsmen getting in and making it count. Dale Steyn put the finishing touches to the day by clubbing four sixes, one of which cleared the stands and disappeared into the neighbourhood. - Sapa

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