First Test, Nagpur, day one (close): India v South Africa 291-2
Dates: 6-10 February Start time: 0400 GMT
Amla and Kallis dominated the day at an almost empty ground in Nagpur
Jacques Kallis smashed his 34th Test hundred as South Africa rallied after a perilous start on day one of the first Test against India in Nagpur.
Zaheer Khan reduced the tourists to 6-2 in the seventh over when he dismissed Graeme Smith and Ashwell Prince.
But Kallis (159 not out) and Hashim Amla (115 not out) guided South Africa to a healthy 291-2 at the close.
The duo shared an unbroken stand of 285, a South African all-time record partnership record against India.
The impervious Kallis produced a typically chanceless innings, consuming 290 deliveries featuring 13 boundaries and two sixes, while Amla provided more than adequate support, adding 11 boundaries on the way to his eighth Test match hundred.
However, the headlines will belong to Kallis, who moved level with Sunil Gavaskar and Brian Lara with 34 Test hundreds - only Ricky Ponting (39) and Sachin Tendulkar (45) have more.
Despite South Africa's precarious start, Kallis tore into India's bowlers, plundering Ishant Sharma and spinners Harbhajan Singh and Amit Mishra all over the Vidarbha Cricket Association Ground.
He brought up his ton just before tea, reaching the interval on 120, while Amla contributed a more conservative 60.
However, the stylish Dolphins captain turned on the style after tea as India's bowlers continued to toil.
Already without batsmen Rahul Dravid and Yuvraj Singh because of injuries, the hosts suffered a setback before the start of play when the experienced VVS Laxman failed to recover in time from a finger problem.
And, Rohit Sharma, the chosen successor to replace Laxman in the middle order, was denied his Test debut when he twisted his ankle playing football in the morning warm-up.
With their middle order batting options rapidly depleting, India's selectors were forced to turn to reserve wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha, who earned his first cap as a specialist batsman.
The enforced change meant India were fielding one of their most inexperienced batting line-ups in years with Tamil Nadu batsman Subramaniam Badrinath also making his Test debut, while state team-mate Murali Vijay has just three previous five-day appearances for India.
However, Zaheer gave captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni the perfect fillip when he removed Ashwell Prince in the fifth over after Smith won the toss and elected to bat first.
The troubled opener was caught behind attempting to evade a short ball, although television replays showed the ball brushed the left-hander's arm guard rather than glove.
And, two overs later, Smith was back in the pavilion when he was undone by a fine inswinger from left-arm seamer Zaheer as India took firm control of the match.
Kallis has never scored a double Test century
However, Kallis and Amla ensured the hosts had nothing else to celebrate for the rest of the day.
"It was a very difficult start to the morning but we recovered fantastically. It was an awesome performance by Kallis and Amla. Their shot selection was very good," said South Africa batting coach and interim selector Kepler Wessels.
"Jacques Kallis makes runs everywhere in the world, he is technically one of the best batsman in the world, certainly one of the best that South Africa has ever produced.
"I think, as he 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."
Despite his extensive experience and accolades, Kallis remains the only player in the top-10 leading Test run scorers in the game's history to never have scored a double century.
The 34-year-old remains 41 runs short of the mark, a record he will be keen to address in the morning session on day two.
India skipper Mahendra Dhoni also praised the two batsmen but added: "Our bowlers also did a decent job as the wicket was rather slow. They were a bit unlucky as the ball missed the edge on quite a few occasions.
"We had to go for a semi-defensive field as there was not much help for spinners. There was a bit of turn but it was not a rank turner."