India in SA
The Kallis legend lives on
Jacques Kallis (Gallo Images)
Newlands - Jacques Kallis fought off a ferocious second new ball spell from Sreesanth and then gathered the tail under his wing to play the innings of which legends are made on the second day of the third Castle Test at Sahara Park Newlands on Monday.
The statistics were impressive on their own. He was last man out for 161 out of a total of 362 and in the process joined Ricky Ponting on 39 Test centuries as the second leading century maker of all time. It was also his 7th Test century at Newlands and his third in successive matches at this venue against Australia, England and India respectively.
What the statistics do not tell is the lively state of the pitch for most of Kallis’ innings, the fact that he had to battle severe discomfort after suffering both a bruised rib and a strained side injury, and the quality of the Indian bowling.
It must, in fact, be a course for concern for the Proteas that Sreesanth, who finished with a well deserved 5 wickets, and Zaheer Khan have been far more threatening so far in this match than either Dale Steyn or Morne Morkel.
Graeme Smith will be looking to his world-rated new ball attack to turn things around as the Proteas move into the second half of the match.
The second new ball is still 30 overs away (a full session) and India have built themselves up into a handy position following the unbroken third wicket partnership of 114 in 39 overs between Gautam Ghambir (65 off 159 balls with 8 fours) and Sachin Tendulkar (49 off 106 balls with 5 fours).
Together they have batted India into a position where they trail by 220 runs with 8 wickets in hand and the match is at least evenly balanced as far as the tourists are concerned.
Lonwabo Tsotsobe, who had earlier made a career best 8 not out which may not sound like a lot but was an important contribution to a last-wicket stand of 52 runs, was probably the pick of the Proteas’ attack and was unlucky to have Gambhir dropped in his opening spell. His performance here has followed the five wickets he picked up in the Durban Test and he is settling into Test cricket very nicely.
The Kallis-Tsotsobe partnership was part of a fine rearguard action that saw 100 runs added to the total from the time that Kallis’ last reliable partner, Mark Boucher, was dismissed. Kallis made 71 of these runs going from 90 to 161 (291 balls, 19 fours). He has now scored nearly 400 runs in the series from 3 completed innings and, like Tendulkar, is playing as well as he has done at any stage of his career.
Sreesanth (5/114 in 29 overs) had a magnificent second new ball spell when he got rid of Ashwell Prince (47 off 100 balls with 6 fours) and Boucher with successive deliveries. Zaheer then followed up by dismissing Steyn with a short delivery from around the wicket.
The ball that accounted for Prince would have dismissed just about every other left-hander on planet earth.
Fortunately Sreesanth ran out of steam before he could run through the tail as a total of 300 looked optimistic at one stage.
But then nothing is impossible when Kallis takes charge. He may play his domestic cricket out of Port Elizabeth these days but he remains King of the Newlands Castle.