South Africa were in a strong position at 232/4 at stumps on Day 1 of the third Test against India, with Jacques Kallis and Ashwell Prince consolidating with a solid unbeaten stand of 68 after the first four wickets fell for 163. Sreeshant was the most effective bowler, taking two wickets, while Ishant Sharna abd Zaheer Khan pitched in with one each.
After bad light and rain interrupted play for about half an hour in the afternoon, Hashim Amla came out with all guns blazing in the 22nd over. Amla immediately whipped Zaheer Khan away for three boundaries, one, which was a square drive, one, an on drive and the third, a flick to square leg.
A few overs later, Amla got after Sreesanth, hammering him for two fours, both cover drives. Sreesanth couldn't check Amla's belligerence as in the bowler's following over, carted him over square leg for a six to bring up a quick half-century and then edged him wide of VVS Laxman at second slip for another boundary. With that last shot, South Africa moved past 100.
But Sreeshant won the contest in the 28th over when he bowled a straight, bouncy ball which Amla tried to pull, but ended up just getting a top-edge which the fielder at mid-wicket had no problems pouching.
The new batsman A B de Villiers, settled in by swatting Zaheer for a four in the 32nd over. Harbhajan Singh joined the attack at that juncture, but both batsmen were able ro play him with no sweat. In the 45th over, Kallis attacked Ishant Sharna by getting away for a four and then picking him for two more runs to take his side over 150.
After 50 overs, the hosts had progressed to just 163 runs, evidently going at just a little above 3 an over. Just one over later, Sreesanth got de villiers caught behind to a deceptive outswinger for 26. The Proteas were 164/4 in 51 overs and looking in a spot of bother.
But Kallis and the ne batsman Ashwell Prince, weathered to tempest well, fending off the bowlers and pushing for runs. Kallis immediately notched up his 50 and pressed ahead. In the 61st over, Prince came down heavily on Harbhajan, paddle-sweeping him for a four to the fine-leg boundary and then punching him down the ground for as straight four.
In the following over, Kallis took a single off Zaheer to bring up the 200. South Africa wrapped up the day at a healthy 232/4 in 74 overs with Kallis not out on 81 and Prince according him steady support with 28.
Earlier in the day, play was stalled for about two hours - from 11:20 am to 1:15pm local time - after which Proteas batsmen Hashim Amla and Alviro Petersen resumed batting. They immediately seemed to find a groove, hitting two fours between them. But in just the fourth over after lunch, first-change bowler Ishant Sharma struck. He had an adventurous Petersen caught behind for 21 and the hosts had slipped to 34/2 in 13.3 overs.
Amla then played a couple of streaky shots for four, before Kallis took South Africa to over the 50-run mark with another boundary off Sreesanth. The bowler got some seam movement, but Kallis spotted it early and blitzed it through the covers. Later in the over, Sreesanth bowled a sucker ball on the pads which Kallis whipped away to fine leg for another four.
Bad light stopped play for about half-an-hour with South Africa at 62/2 in 21 overs, but Amla returned firing from all cylinders. He got Zaheer away for three blistering boundaries in the over after the interruption. The hosts had climbed to 74/2 with the Amla-Kallis partnership looking threatening.
Day 1 of this encounter began with Indian captain M S Dhoni winning the toss and putting the hosts into bat. The Proteas were evidently looking to start off their innings with a bang after watchfully playing Zaheer Kahn in a quiet first over, Alviro Petersen caem down heavily on Sreesanth, taking two boundaries off him, one shot being whipped past forward short leg and the other, punched between the bowler and mid-off.
Zaheer bowled a tight following over and Sreesanth adjusted his line and length in the 4th as the South African opening pair of Petersen and Graeme Smith became more circumspect in picking the bowlers for runs. Then in the 7th over, Zaheer drew first blood for India when he had Smith trapped plumb in front for 6. South Africa were 17/1 at that point, when Hashim Amla came out to bat. A quiet three overs followed before the players had to rush off as the rain came down and the covers came on.