Nagpur:In-form South African Hashim Amla, whose forefathers hail from Gujarat, said to get his maiden double century on the Indian soil was of special significance for him.
Amla, whose grandparents migrated from Gujarat, lit up the second day's proceedings with his unbeaten 253 in their first innings against India. Amla was also the first South African of Indian descent to reach the national team.
"Scoring a maiden double hundred on the Indian soil is a momentous occasion. I am really grateful that I had the opportunity. More important was to get the team in the best position," Amla said.
The 26-year-old also said it was a great learning experience to bat so long with senior partner like Jacques Kallis and forge together a grand stand of 340 for the third wicket -- second occasion the duo have done so for South Africa.
"I've been more fortunate and it has been a good learning experience on both occasions, watching it from the non-striker's end also," he said.
"Having batting the whole day out was quite satisfactory. I always wanted to try and bat as long as possible. I was fortuitous as a few chances went my way but that happens especially if you are scoring a double hundred," Amla said.
"There were a few tough parts -- the reverse swing and also facing the spinners. (Amit) Mishra beat the bat many many times but in a way you don't look back and sigh," he added.
Observing the wicket was taking a little bit more turn than yesterday, the number four batsman said it was not easy to come in and straightaway play shots on this track.
"It just got more turn and bounce and is helpful for the spinners. There was a time when myself and AB (de Villers) were batting where we couldn't score quicker because it is not easy for the new guy to come in and just start playing shots," he said.
"Same was the case with Bouchy (Mark Boucher), who took a bit to time to get in and then expressed himself. We would have loved to up the scoring rate but I don't think the game allowed us to do that," he added.
Amla also got a pat on the back from senior partner Kallis, who felt Amla has improved a lot since his last tour to India in 2008 when he notched up 307 runs in three Tests with 159 in the opener at Chennai as his highest individual knock.
"He has certainly come a long way from the last time he toured India. He is one of the main (batsmen) in the line-up and gives a solid look. He is a fantastic guy to bat with and a very calming influence on all the players. The way he has developed his game has been fantastic," Kallis said.
Kallis, who also made 173 in South Africa's first innings, pointed out the way Amla has bounced back after being written off was an indication of his character.
"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," he said.
Kallis, however, was not much concerned about missing a double hundred.
"It's not a mental block. I certainly don't lose any sleep over it," said Kallis, who notched up his 34th hundred to draw level with batting legends Sunil Gavaskar of India and West Indian Brian Lara.
About the match situation, the 34-year-old veteran felt that there was some help for the bowlers in the morning sessions. "Morning is a crucial period as the wicket does a little bit more in the morning," he said.