Friday 4 April 2008 

De Villiers Double Century Helps Proteas Stretch Lead

India 76 (Pathan 21no, Steyn 5-23, Ntini 3-18, Morkel 2-20) v
South Africa 494-7 (De Villiers 217no, Kallis 132)

Three-match series level at 0-0
By Aaron Kumar

AB De Villiers scored a double century and Jacques Kallis a century as South Africa continued to build a substantial first innings lead over India on day two of the second Test in Ahmedabad.

De Villiers was unbeaten on 217 and Paul Harris on nine when ended the day's play early.

Kallis (132) and De Villiers added 256 for the fifth wicket before Kallis was bowled by Shanthakumaran Sreesanth after South Africa did not lose a wicket in the morning session.

Anil Kumble picked up his first wicket of the innings when he had Mark Boucher trapped lbw for 21 but not before he had added a fifty partnership with De Villiers and helped South Africa get to 363 runs ahead.

South Africa are replying to India's first innings of 76. De Villiers swept Harbhajan for a huge six onto the roof to take him 181, his best Test score.

Harbhajan picked up his fourth wicket when Morne Morkel was adjudged LBW for just a single, to leave South Africa 457 for seven and De Villiers on the brink of a maiden Test double century.

Kallis enjoyed some good fortune early on when the all-rounder got an inside edge onto his pad off the bowling of Harbhajan, the ball then hit the stumps quite firmly, however the bails remained unmoved.

The South African batsmen were quite content to bide their time and score their runs in singles, when on offer. India were operating with spin from both ends as Kumble and Harbhajan were bowling with a great deal of accuracy. However almost an hour into the second days play, both teams had one eye on the second new ball, which was just around the corner.

Some excellent running between the wickets by the South African duo, as well as some sluggish fielding was starting to frustrate the Indians who desperately needed a few wickets before lunch, but none were to come.

Instead, an outside edge for Kallis which ran away for four brought up the 150 partnership between himself and De Villiers but a few balls later, Kallis was lucky to survive an lbw appeal, he was attempting to play a pull shot but failed to make contact and was wrapped on the pad, he was adjudged not out but replays show that the ball would have hit the top of middle stump.

De Villiers brought up his fifth Test century in the last over before lunch when he swept Ganguly to fine leg for four while Kallis had to wait until after the break to bring up his 30th Test century off of the same bowler.

De Villiers' score is the highest individual score by a South African number six batsman, beating the score of 144 not out by Colin Bland in 1965 and he went on to become the first South African to score a double century against India.

“This is right up there with my best innings for South Africa,” De Villiers commented afterwards. “I didn’t set myself the target of scoring a double. I always want to play an innings that is going to win a match for my side. There are times when I would rather score a match-winning 60 or 70 rather than a double hundred. I think in this case the double hundred and the partnership with Jacques has gone a long way to give us a platform to strike for victory and hopefully we can now finish the job.

“We have three days left to finish off India and, if we stick to our disciplines and hold our catches, we certainly have the bowlers to do it.”

The first Test in Chennai was drawn.

© Cricket World 2008

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