Nagpur:South Africa batting consultant Kepler Wessels said his side's strategy to deny Indian spin spearhead Harbhajan Singh any success clicked as the visitors were in a commanding position on the opening day of the first Test.
Wessels was delighted that plans worked out to counter Harbhajan were carried out successfully by Jacques Kallis and Hashim Amla, who struck unbeaten 159 and 115 respectively, to take South Africa to 291 for two on Day One.
"You don't often see Harbhajan go through a day like today without bowling a maiden. We had very good game plan against him and Kallis and Amla executed the strategy perfectly," he said.
The Indian off-spinner finished the day with unimpressive figures of 0 for 81 in 21 overs.
Wessels, however, defended Harbhajan saying that the first day wicket did not have much for the spinners. "A first day pitch for any spinner is always challenging. So I don't think he bowled badly. The two batsmen, once they got in, batted quite beautifully," he explained.
Wessels said his side would look to bat for at least two more sessions tomorrow to put the hosts under pressure.
"From our point of view the same intensity tomorrow, the same concentration tomorrow, and if we can bat well until tea session then clearly our bowlers can come really go hard at the Indian top order," Wessels told reporters after the opening day's play.
South Africa recovered from a stuttering start of six for two through a record 285-run stand for the third wicket between one-down Hashim Amla (115 not out) and number four Jacques Kallis (159 not out) to end the day at 291 for two.
Wessels was full of praise for the duo for the manner in which they resurrected the team's innings and denied the home team a wicket after the first half hour's play on a slow-paced wicket which offered low bounce.
"It was a very difficult start in the morning but fantastically recovered and awesome performance by Kallis and Hashim. The powers of concentration (shown) by both batsmen were exceptional. I think their shot selection was very good," he said.
Wessels described Kallis, who notched up his 34th Test hundred to draw level with Sunil Gavaskar and Brian Lara as one of the best technically equipped players who can adjust to any condition.
"Jacques Kallis makes runs everywhere in the world. He assesses the conditions very well, he is technically one of the best batsmen in the world, certainly one of the best that South Africa has ever produced and has the ability to play under all conditions," he said.
"I think as he (Kallis) has grown in stature over the years he has got his game so well worked out, so well organised, that he knows exactly how to bat under different conditions," elaborated Wessels.
On Amla, the former opener said that the Asian-origin player has made the number three position his own recently with his tremendous mental powers and preparations.
"The No. 3 slot as we saw today is such an important position and Hashim has done very well for South Africa over the last few years. He is very strong mentally. I am not surprised that he got runs today as his preparations over the last four days has been very, very good," Wessels pointed out.