amla and kallis punish india

NAGPUR, India - Jacques Kallis lavished praise on teammate Hashim Amla, who smashed through an unbeaten 253 yesterday to put South Africa in firm control of the first Test against India.

NAGPUR, India - Jacques Kallis lavished praise on teammate Hashim Amla, who smashed through an unbeaten 253 yesterday to put South Africa in firm control of the first Test against India.

"He has certainly come a long way from the last time that he toured India," Kallis said at a press conference after the visitors ended day two on a strong 558-6 declared.

"Amla is one of the mainstays of the batting line-up and gives it a solid look. He is a fantastic guy to bat with. He is a very calming influence on all the players."

Amla put on a record 340 runs for the third wicket with Kallis (173) to pull the team out of trouble after they were tottering at 6-2 on the first day of the match.

Their stand was the highest for South Africa for any wicket against India, bettering the previous partnership of 256 runs between Kallis and AB de Villiers at Ahmedabad in 2008.

It was also the second triple-century partnership for the duo, having shared 330 runs against New Zealand at Johannesburg in 2007.

"People wrote him off early on, but the tough character that he is, he has proved everyone wrong," said Kallis.

Amla did not let his concentration waver yesterday despite losing wickets at the other end, staying on at the crease for more than 11 hours for his 473-ball innings, studded with 22 fours.

He completed his maiden double century in style, driving part-time spinner Virender Sehwag for a scorching four through the covers.

Amla also came close to registering the highest individual score by a South African but the declaration meant he will have to wait for another chance.

Skipper Graeme Smith holds that record, having scored 277 against England at Edgbaston in 2003.

Amla, who will turn 27 next month, has so far scored 3024 runs from 42 Tests after making his debut against India at Kolkata in 2004. - Sapa-AFP

X