Jacques Kallis hit a maiden Test double century and A.B. de Villiers raced to South Africa’s fastest Test hundred to leave India with a huge task if they are to save the first Test at SuperSport Park yesterday.
India were 92 for no wicket at tea on the third day, still trailing by 392 runs after Graeme Smith declared South Africa’s first innings at 620 for four. Virender Sehwag was on 51 not out and Gautam Gambhir had scored 33.
Kallis made 201 not out to remove one of the few blots on an otherwise outstanding Test career record.
Kallis, fifth on the all-time Test run-scorers list, was the only player in the top 15 not to have converted at least one century into a double. It was his 38th hundred.
Spectators in the packed grass banks roared their approval when Kallis glanced Jaidev Unadkat to the fine-leg boundary to reach the elusive landmark. Kallis removed his helmet, hugged batting partner de Villiers and acknowledged the applause with a broad smile.
In the next over, de Villiers edged a loose drive against Ishant Sharma and was caught behind by India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni for a spectacular 129, made off 112 balls.
De Villiers raced to his century off 74 balls with 11 fours and five sixes, beating the previous fastest, shared by Denis Lindsay, Jonty Rhodes and Shaun Pollock, by 21 balls.
It was an extraordinary innings by de Villiers, who in his previous Test scored a South Africa record 278 not out against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi last month. De Villiers played a dazzling array of strokes, from sweetly-timed drives and delicate cuts, to reverse sweeps and fearless slog-sweeps over fielders placed on the mid-wicket boundary. He reached his 12th Test century with two successive hits for six off part-time spinner Suresh Raina.
Kallis, who had shared a third-wicket stand of 230 with Hashim Amla (140), was content to be the supportive partner as de Villiers went on the rampage in a fourth wicket stand of 224 off 226 balls.
Yet Kallis scored at a rapid rate by Test standards, reaching his double century off 267 balls, with 15 fours and five sixes.