Amla first Protean to score triple ton

Hashim Amla hit the highest Test score by a South African with an unbeaten 311 to put his side within sight of a crushing victory over England on the fourth day of the first Test at the Oval on Sunday.

At the close England were 102 for four in their second innings, still trailing by 150 runs.

Jacques Kallis stroked an unbeaten 182, his 43rd Test century, as South Africa reached a commanding 637 for two before declaring at tea. Only Sachin Tendulkar (51) has scored more Test centuries than the South African all-rounder.

Amla surpassed the previous record of 278 by team-mate AB de Villiers. The batsmen's marathon efforts were then supported by the bowers as England lost Alastair Cook (0), Jonathan Trott (10), Kevin Pietersen (16) and Andrew Strauss (27) before the close.

Cook edged a probing ball on off stump from Vernon Philander to wicketkeeper de Villiers, Trott fell in similar fashion to Dale Steyn, while Pietersen was bowled by a straight delivery from Morne Morkel and Strauss top-edged a sweep to square leg off Imran Tahir.

South Africa, who will leapfrog England at the top of the world rankings if they win the three-match series, now have an excellent chance of taking a 1-0 lead going to Headingley for the second Test on Aug 2. Their skipper Graeme Smith set the tone on Saturday with 131 in his 100th Test match.

It was the first Test triple century in England for 22 years, since Graham Gooch hit 333 against India at Lord's in 1990.

score board

England (I Innings): 385 allout

South Africa (I Innings, O/n: 403/2):

Smith b Bresnan    131
Petersen lbw Anderson    0
Amla (not out)    311
Kallis (not out)    182

Extras (B-5, LB-4, W-2, NB-2)    13

Total (2 wkts decl, 189 overs)    637

Fall of wickets: 1-1, 2-260.

Bowling: Anderson 41-7-116-1, Broad 34-6-118-0, Swann 52-10-151-0, Bresnan 37-2-140-1, Bopara 18-1-78-0, Pietersen 3-0-13-0, Trott 4-0-12-0.

England (II Innings): 

Strauss c Philander b Tahir    27
Cook c de Villiers b Philander     0
Trott c de Villiers b Steyn    10
Pietersen b Morkel    16
Bell (batting)    14
Bopara (batting)    15

Extras (B-3, LB-12, NB-5)    20

Total (for 4 wkts, 38 overs)    102

Fall of wickets: 1-2, 2-32, 3-57, 4-67.

Bowling: M Morkel 8-0-24-1, Philander 9-2-13-1, Steyn 9-2-27-1, Tahir 12-3-23-1.

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