(CNN) -- Hashim Amla became the first South African to score a triple century in Test cricket as his side dominated No.1 ranked England at The Oval Sunday.
Amla was 311 not out as South Africa declared on a massive 637 for two wickets before taking four cheap England wickets by the close of the fourth day.
It left England needing 150 runs to avoid a humiliating innings defeat with only six wickets left.
Amla shared a record 377 unbroken stand for the third wicket with Jacques Kallis, who was 182 not out when captain Graeme Smith called his men in.
The previous Test best for South Africa had come from current teammate AB de Villiers, who hit 278 not out against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi in 2010-11.
"I am happy, surprised and really excited that I managed to do something that has never been done before by a South African, but the biggest pleasure is that the team is in a dominant position to win this Test match," Amla told gathered reports.
"I didn't dream about getting 300," he added. "I've always been a person who never sets goals. In many ways that helps you because you can keep going without being limited."
Amla batted for just over 13 hours and hit 35 fours, including a boundary off Tim Bresnan when on 299, lofting it over the infield before taking a prolonged standing ovation from the crowd.
They had seen England's much-vaunted bowling attack blunted on a docile pitch with Kallis reaching his 43rd Test ton in tandem.
England took only one wicket in nearly two days of play, but South Africa's bowlers made significant inroads when the home side batted again.
Alastair Cook, who hit a century in the first innings, was caught behind off Vernon Philander off the eighth ball of the innings without scoring.
Dale Steyn then quickly removed Jonathan Trott, caught behind off a superb delivery.
Kevin Pietersen hit three boundaries in his stay for 16 until being bowled by Morne Morkel.
When England captain Andrew Strauss top-edged a sweep against leg-spinner Imran Tahir to go for 27 his side were in deep trouble.
Their hopes of avoiding defeat and going one down in a three-Test series will rest with Ian Bell and Ravi Bopara when play resumes Monday.