Hashim Amla termed his eleven-and-a-quarter effort in the first Test against India a momentous occasion in his career. Amla’s career-best unbeaten 253 was also the best by a South African batsman against India.

“Scoring a maiden double hundred on Indian soil is a momentous occasion. I am really grateful that I had the opportunity,” said Amla. “More important was to get the team in the best position. There were a few tough parts: the reverse swing and facing the spinners. (Amit) Mishra beat the bat many, many times but in a way you don’t look back and sigh.”

The 340-run partnership between Amla and Jacques Kallis was the second time the pair had put on over 300 in a Test. Both batsmen said they enjoyed the other’s company.

“I’ve been more fortunate and it has been a good learning experience on both occasions, watching it from the non-strikers end,” said Amla.

“He is a fantastic guy to bat with,” said Kallis. “He is a very calming influence on all the players. The way he has developed his game has been fantastic. People wrote him off early on but the tough character he is, he has proved everyone wrong. He is going to score a lot of runs for South Africa in very important situations.”

Kallis denied that that the lack of a double-hundred in an otherwise stellar career bothered him. “Its not a mental block and I certainly don’t lose any sleep over it,” he said.

Doing their utmost

Indian coach Gary Kirsten said his bowlers had done their utmost. “I thought the guys bowled their hearts out,” he said. “It’s not an easy wicket to bowl on. I thought Amit Mishra bowled really well for no wicket.

“He went past the outside edge I don’t know how many times. You have days like that when you don’t really get the result that you want. I thought Harbhajan’s rhythm today was fantastic. He was a little unlucky at certain times.”

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