Nagpur: Fine unbeaten centuries by Kallis (159*) and Amla (115*) guided South Africa to reach 291/2 at stumps on day one of the first Test against India at Nagpur.
Jacques Kallis scored his 34th Test ton to equal Gavaskar's record on Saturday as South Africa have reached a strong position at stumps on the first day of the first Test match against India.
After loss of two early wickets, South Africa rebuilt their innings with a 285-run partnership between Kallis and Amla. Kallis is batting on 159 and Amla on 115. South Africa's total score is 291 for 2.
MS Dhoni lost the toss, but for about an hour thereafter, it was all India on the first morning of play in the first Test against South Africa.
Zaheer Khan, continuing from where he left off against Bangladesh, was in a fierce mood, extracting snappy life out of what both captains predicted would be a traditional Indian wicket flattish, slow, dry, with not much bounce, a wicket that would make the spinners happy later in the game.
Zaheer troubled Ashwell Prince from the start, forcing him on the defensive, keeping him on the back foot. The over before Prince fell, there were two breathers the first when he edged to the slip cordon but it fell short of Murali Vijay, and the second, two balls later, rapped him on the pads slightly outside, but even as the Indians went up, it was clear it was a tad too high.
But Prince went the next over. Zaheer banged the ball in short, it came at Price's face and the South African took immediate evasive action. He dropped his left (lower) arm and put the bat up in front as protection, merely fending it high off the arm guard to be happily pocketed by Dhoni.
Smith, who had been cautious, even over-cautious, especially against an aggressive Zaheer in the half an hour since play began, lasted about eight minutes longer.
He hesitantly went in forward defence and completely missed the line of a delivery that cut back to take out his stumps. Two down.
Smith's departure though, brought the inscrutable and often, impregnable Jacques Kallis to join Hashim Amla at the other end. Together, they hung around and calmly putting their heads down, began to rebuild.
Earlier, India got off to the most inauspicious of starts after Rohit Sharma, himself a last-minute replacement for the injured VVS Laxman, twisted his ankle about an hour before start of play.
A very surprised wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha, in the team as cover for India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni's bad back, found himself being congratulated by coach Gary Kirsten and fellow debutant S. Badrinath just ahead of the toss.
Saha, who became a familiar face during the Indian Premier League as part of the Kolkata Knight Riders, becomes part of a small clutch of players from Bengal to have earned the right to wear an India Test cap. He will be the first player from Bengal after Sourav Ganguly to do so. Saha will play as a batsman only, at No. 7, as skipper Dhoni preferred to keep the gloves on.
South Africa: 291 for 2 (Kallis 159*, Amla 115*, Zaheer Khan 2-67)