Kallis's Newlands nirvana

2010-01-03 19:13

Comment: Rob Houwing, Sport24 chief writer

Cape Town – The start of Jacques Kallis’s Newlands Test batting saga against England, rich as it is now, wasn’t ideal.

A nervous 20-year-old in just his second appearance for his country in the 1995/96 season, he batted at No 7 for South Africa, sandwiched between Brian McMillan and Dave Richardson, and was trapped leg before wicket by Peter Martin for a funereal seven off 65 balls in the first innings.

But Hansie Cronje’s team went on to win by 10 wickets to clinch the series and the rookie was not required for the second knock.
Since then, Kallis has experienced only giddy success at the ground against these opponents, registering 105 in an innings victory in 1999/2000 and then 149 and 66 as the Proteas prevailed by 196 runs in 2004/05.

Sunday’s utterly priceless, unbeaten knock of 108 (188 balls, 11 fours), in an ever-steadying South African first-day total of 279 for six, was thus his third Cape Town century against England in as many Tests.

And Kallis feasting on their bowling at Newlands once again will be taken as a good omen by a Proteas side slightly fragile on confidence at present and desperate to level the series 1-1 at a favourite venue for the team collectively.

Although he plays his very limited domestic cricket for the Warriors these days, the 34-year-old Pinelands-born player retains his extremely happy association with postcard-perfect Newlands at international level – his Test average there currently stands at a shade over 70 from 17 matches against all opponents, now including six three-figure efforts.

Certainly this innings, happily still a work in progress, has been one of his most treasured to the home cause, given the context of the series – defeat would mean series “curtains” for South Africa – and the circumstances when he took to the crease.

Graeme Smith, after all, had lost a bad toss after some niggly, disappointing unseasonal rain and with low cloud cover in abundance initially.

“I’d put some money on (swing bowler James) Anderson this morning,” this writer overheard former England captain Mike Atherton venture in the media centre as the Proteas took to the crease in the awkward near-gloom after a delayed start.

And Anderson duly obliged, ripping out the luckless Ashwell Prince for a three-ball duck as South Africa rapidly found themselves on the back foot at one for one.

Conditions were still very favourable to pace and seam bowling when the battle-hardened Kallis took to the crease at 46 for two, but his very arrival seemed to have a gee-up, butterflies-settling effect on the hosts … as it so often does.

The 34-year-old maestro was involved in three important partnerships – with AB de Villiers (76), Mark Boucher (89) and then the unlikely but impressive Dale Steyn, who was promoted to No 8 and helped Kallis post a further unbeaten 63 at four-runs-an-over for the seventh wicket.

All the while Kallis was the essential glue, standing typically composed and oozing application to the cause as the sun burned through for a few hours and then made life more challenging again as it went AWOL once more in the early afternoon and forced a slightly early suspension of play.

Thanks largely to their steely No 4, South Africa are “in the game”, as they say, even if they will feel a lot happier if they can claw their way on day two to the fair security of 350 or more.

Rather better weather is expected for the remainder of this rosily-attended Test and that could make the best conditions for batting on the second and third days – although there is enough grass left on the pitch and pretty sprightly carry to suggest the quicker bowlers will stay interested if they perform skilfully.

It is probably both a good and bad thing that South Africa, in this series, have seen their most consistent batting thus far come from their two most-capped players, Kallis and his virtually joined-at-the-hip friend Boucher.

The last-named player displayed great positivity once again, as he has done since the opener at Centurion, working the ball around deftly for his half-century and choosing ideal moments to two-step down the track in statements of intent and defiance.

The good part of the Kallis-Boucher firm prospering is that there is clearly plenty of life yet in the old dogs, but at the same time it is a concern that some younger elements of their regular mix – most notably JP Duminy, who got a second golden duck on the trot – are not contributing as weightily or assuredly as might have been expected at the start of the summer.

Maybe the clever, minor elevation of Steyn in the order -- which has paid off -- was a signal that, come the second knock, South Africa might consider some of their more troubled specialist batsmen being shuffled around too.

Prince, in particular, is probably feeling more than a bit spooked about opening the innings after getting out to some really good ‘uns of late …


  • Dubai Bok - 2010-01-03 19:29

    Pure Class Jaques Kallis....great knock...lets hope there is a 150 on the cards and then it is game on.

  • cheryl - 2010-01-03 19:36

    What a fantastic player he is I wish he could still play for another decade. Weldone Jacques your Dad would be so proud of you. Best of luck.

  • Ash - 2010-01-03 19:37

    All those who have been slagging Boucher and Kallis off on these posts and calling for their head have no idea how valuable these two cricketing greats are for SA. Althogh Boucher's average over the years is slightly lower than it should have been - he always semms to come to the party when needed. Time should only be called on his career when he decide's to retire. Can Kallis finally get the over due and well deserved double century?? I hope so. Come on Kallis. Duminy to get the chop, Prince to bat lower and either Petersen or Mckensie to Open. People forget how well Mckensie batted on his return and its only the Aussies that found him wanting. He was superb against England and even better against India in INDIA (probably the hardest place in world cricket to bat).

  • cheryl - 2010-01-03 19:42

    What a fantastic player he is I wish he could still play for another decade. Weldone Jacques your Dad would be so proud of you. Best of luck.

  • LOL - 2010-01-03 19:48

    Best player ever!!! him and bouch are great! saved the day!!! now we must just bring back Adrian Kuiper to hit the ball over table mountain!

  • suporterof proteas - 2010-01-03 19:56

    ive always suported those two. bt i wana x a change after all they only bacame great players because hansie nd them gve young players a chance, lyk wat we must do nw

  • Bill - 2010-01-03 19:58

    @Ash -- at last someone who knows something about cricket writing in these comment slots! McKenzie is a huge stabilising factor in the team and he and Smith are great mates as well (both went to KES). He is technically sound and can catch as well! Then Prince must move down and Duminy be packed off to the Cobras for some time in the middle(which he ain't getting much of these days). We have sadly been carrying Makhaya since 2007, so its hats off but goodbye - they all had to go... Donald, Pollock there's no room for sentiment in international sport.

  • JC - 2010-01-03 20:18

    So where are all the Kallis & Boucher bashers now??? ONCE AGAIN they top score.

  • Walter Molapisi - 2010-01-03 20:23

    We will always need you Jaques to take us out of trouble. You are a raw talent. Best of luck tomorrow and i thank you for making us "south africans" proud and hopeful for levelling a series

  • jl007 - 2010-01-03 20:24

    @ash india the hardest place in world cricket... to bat??? are you insane, that must be the dumbest thing i've heard in my life. india is batting heaven you chop

  • PJ - 2010-01-03 20:26

    Yes, please bring McKenzie back and move Prince to no 5. Duminy needs some time in the domestic scene to get his form back. All the Kallis & Boucher slaggers should shut their traps now

  • Jinx? - 2010-01-03 20:27 did you have to mention the double hundred?? hope thats not a jinx.... haha

  • Jurgens - 2010-01-03 20:48

    @Ash. could not agree more,

  • Lucky for Kallis - 2010-01-03 20:58

    Lucky for Kallis that his nemesis, Biff, left him early, so he could play his normal stoic unflustered game, not impeded by great advice from the 'captain'. When are they going to remove Biff from management?

  • Jay - 2010-01-03 21:10

    Well done KALLIS. One more century and you will be in the TOP 3 best batsmen for 100's ranking..... AND to mention, in that CLUB of 100's JK has taken the most TEST WICKETS and TEST CATCHES..... Without a doubt the WORLD'S best ALL ROUNDER TEST PLAYER.... and he still has a good 5 more years i'd say

  • Kingmatt - 2010-01-03 21:10

    Kallis, yes, great knock...but afraid not enough around him. 260 odd is not near enough first day with 6 down...opens up classic repeat of last test or similar...4 more by lunch tomorrow, England best part of 2 days batting will leave us with a deficit and on the back foot! We dont have an attack to take 20 wickets...guys, I hope I am wrong, but this one dont look good enough to win from bet is a draw for SA, as I see it, in Cape Town

  • VJ - 2010-01-03 21:15

    Yes I agree. many readers wanted to drop Bouchie and make AB WK. Boucher has been very solid at 6. Since Jonty & Gibbs we have not had many good fielders & AB is excellent. Well done Kallis, you have proved many critics wrong.

  • Joe - 2010-01-03 21:22

    Only the cricketing cretins can't realise how good Kallis is. Today was everything which has coloured his batting down the years. Propping up the side under extreme pressure, the comparison with the equally-talented but jittery AB de Villiers who succumbed to pressure with the softest of dismissals was there to see. Kallis , the Rock of South African Cricket was named in the both the test and one-day Cricinfo world team of the decade along with Pollock and today we can still see why. I hope they shift the batting order for the second innings. One scenario:move everyone one up i.e. Smith and Amla open with either AB or Kallis no 3. I think AB because these days by the time he comes in he seems to be a jack in the box. Perhaps getting in earlier will do him good. Prince 5 (where he should be) and Duminy 6. With a bit of luck there will be less pressure on Duminy who I think is also affected by what has happened to Prince.I also don't think McKenzie should have been so easily discarded from the squad. A gutsed-out 40 to 50 on the first mornings of the this and the last test is worth 80 runs if it protects the middle order. I thought McKenzie (totally unsung) batted really well in the first SA Oz test last year. As for Boucher, he is benefiting from some test cricket. His batting has been distorted by one day cricket where he has no time to play himself in.

  • VJ - 2010-01-03 21:23

    What do we do with Prince, & JP. Ntini has now departed. Amla is just hanging in there.

  • Gemsbok - 2010-01-03 22:00

    Good for you!!! Where are all those assholes that wanted him out? Get rid of stupid Duminy and Prince. All they do is keeping other really good players out of the team. Both almost scored more runs as the number of innings they played in this series. This will also be a good time for Smith to say his farewells....

  • Ash - 2010-01-03 22:28

    @ Jl007. So why do so many teams struggle to win a test series there? Its cause they always prepare wickets to suit their spinners and sometimes to such an extent that its almost cheating (as we found out when we were 1-0 down in the series. They needed to square the series and produced a disgrace of a pitch not worthy of a school game let alone a test match). Were they 1-0 up then it usually becomes a paradise for batting so they dont lose.

  • williforde - 2010-01-03 22:36

    Agree Ash, but would add the following. Prince has been stupidly played out of position and has been a reluctant opener. He is a top class middle order batter. My concern is, that at this late stage the stupid selectors have done too much harm to his self-confidence for him to even perform in the middle order. I have had a problem watching our guys not using their feet. One of the greatest lefties we have ever had, Graeme Pollock, could do wonders for Graeme, Prince and Duminy. I agree, Duminy needs his technique worked on by a specialist, not our current coaching staff, and needs to get his head right, but away from the test arena. Keeping him on can only cause irreperable harm to his confidence. I would like to see Alviro open with Graeme.

  • Greg - 2010-01-03 23:07

    Pure class. Not enough good can be written about his cricket. A true asset to SA cricket. Long may he play on and break all the records!!!!Oh, and India is the easiest palce to bat. thats why all those guys have inflated averages. they are usesless away from home!

  • Birdman - 2010-01-03 23:20

    Well done Kallis! Now that you have your 100, don't feel that it's enough and give your wicket away - you need that double century to complete your CV! Focus and set your sites on that double ton! Good luck tomorrow!!

  • Gary - 2010-01-03 23:39

    Simply SA's best batsman by a country mile! Ash, you hit the nail on the head mate - good sensible comments - McKenzie needs to get back in to the SA side, yes at the expense of either Duminy or Amla. Prince has to go lower, Ntini has seen his best days so he has t go, politically sensitive or not!

  • marco - 2010-01-04 00:24

    Duminy gets a another duck-wow that's pathetic.Has he even manage to score any runs in this series thus far I can't remember? Maybe that's his message to CSA" SHOW ME THE MONEY AND I'LL GET A HUNDRED FOR YOU OTHERWISE I'LL KEEP THIS UP, FOCUSING ON THE IPL WHILST BATTING FOR SA.He gives our coloureds a bad taste in the mouth and to think coloureds from Cape Town almost always considerd themselves superior to other coloureds and now this shambles.Go to school and learn your trade a new cause you K@K my friend.

  • NoDeadRubber - 2010-01-04 00:34

    prince, duminy, amla all utterly useless. shouldn't be within a million miles of a national side unless they move to bangladesh.

  • Ash - 2010-01-04 01:11

    @JL007 IIndia is batting paradise when they choose it to be YOU CHOP!!! ONE DAY internationals -- batting paradise. why? television, money u name it -- they need runs, crowds,long matches etc, and will prepare flat wickets. TEST ARENA is very different. How many teams have gone and won in INDIA in last decade? If India are leading a test series the wickets prepared thereafter are batting paradises. When the test series is in the balance its much more difficult to bat on (especially with their spinners) and when they are losing a series its almost impossible (as SA found out on their last visit). That pitch was not fit for shools cricket let alone TEST cricket.

  • hanoe - 2010-01-04 06:22

    some good reporting done here.

  • Joe - 2010-01-04 06:50

    Kallis has always been pure class,one of the top five batters in the world.Boucher has been the best wicketkeeper in SA for years and years.There are no players remotely in the same class as Kallis and Boucher,and it makes no sense for all the calls that are being made to drop Kallis and Boucher.I wonder where the team would be if they were dropped or injured?Arthur is the key problem in this team,followed by extremely poor selection decisions in persisting with out of form players.Australia drop out of form players and they invariably come back stronger and better - look at Hayden and Clarke and the Waugh twins just to name a few.Duminy has lost his confidence,Prince is batting out of position - can the selectors not see this?Arthur must go,he is a hazard to the team and cricket in SA.Mr.Majola,are you listening?

  • Fred - 2010-01-04 07:38

    The Amla's, Duminy's plus coaching failures are true proof of the saying "that it is easier to get out of Alcatraz than to be dropped from the Protea's". This drop in performance started against the Aussies at home, the beginning of 2009 the then excuse "too much Cricket" now the excuse "not enough competitive cricket prior to this series" How about the truth, "The coaching staff have not got a clue in developing young players"

  • Sam - 2010-01-04 07:46

    kallis is the greatest all rounder that we have ever had and our best batsman by far. Boucher has a crucial innings from time to time but when you are 5 down, having a guy that averages 30 does not make me rest easy. He is a pitbull by nature and always has the ability to graft out an inning but I would be much more comfortable with a top order batsman that succeeds more than he fails. Averages don't lie and barriing a few matches when he would have been trying to force the pace because of an impending declaration, have an average of 30 means that he fails more often with the bat than someone in the mid 40's. Boucher you have served us well and you are a fantasic cricketer but 30 to 50 odds once in a while, and a good series in every 4 or 5 that you play is not good enough.

  • Concerned - 2010-01-04 08:04

    Somebody needs to install confidence in Amla & Duminy and I don't think the SA management body has that person. They're not bad players - besides, Duminy can get into the side simply as a bowler these days, but there's no-one to help them.Techniques are all wrong and England have sussed out their weak areas.Prince is just the victim of being played "out of position". Move him down to 6 - He's more comfortable there. Arthur, albehim a nice guy, just isn't strong or good enough for the top job - out of his depth and it's starting to show. AB, as talented as he is, needs to be given classes on concentration issues - every now and then he seems to have a moment of madness followed by sheer brilliance. 1st test- dropped Cook on 0, 2nd Test - suicidal runout of Smith. 3rd test - gave away his wicket with a ridiculous shot when the side was in real trouble. Talk to the lad guys . Finally, although SA will deny it, our back-up depth in test cricket is very shallow to say the least - there's absolutely no one that stands out head & shoulders for the future and all credibility for the present is in serious doubt . Makes you think does'nt it?

  • Mac - 2010-01-04 08:19

    The Duminy bashers have quickly forgotten his heroic batting in Australia. He is young and very talented (he has shown that) and can overcome his current lack of form. Remember the young Kallis. Remember Michael Clarke of Australia who struggled initially. The selectors perservered with them and see the results. Give Duminy a break. Those who call for wholesale changes are misguided

  • Dave P - 2010-01-04 08:33

    Well done JK! When will a sponsor issue biffy, bouch, jk,ab and some others with a set of razors and matching razor blades?? If you don't do the basics, how can you be ready to show your best under pressure? Setting a good example is more than gritting it out in the centre, watched closely by long lenses!

  • Peter S - 2010-01-04 08:39

    Smith should be relegated to number 4 or 5 to be able to staedy and captain the side from there.When he goes out cheaply and usually does he has no way of controlling the side or the outcome of an innings.

  • dog - 2010-01-04 08:49

    Why on earth do people continue to refer to out of form or sub-par players as "idiots"? Do you really think these players select themselves? If you were selected, would you say to the selectors, 'no thanks. You should rather select so-and-so because he is better than I am?' Do you not think that these so-called 'idiots' actually do the best they can at the time? For goodness sake, grow up, stop being so bigotted and rather look for positive solutions. If you can't, kindly shut up, leave this site and let the rest of us carry on !

  • dog - 2010-01-04 08:51

    Why on earth do people continue to refer to out of form or sub-par players as "idiots"? Do you really think these players select themselves? If you were selected, would you say to the selectors, 'no thanks. You should rather select so-and-so because he is better than I am?' Do you not think that these so-called 'idiots' actually do the best they can at the time? For goodness sake, grow up, stop being so bigotted and rather look for positive solutions. If you can't, kindly shut up, leave this site and let the rest of us carry on !

  • Raj - 2010-01-04 08:53

    Didn't Amla score a hundred in the first test ( second innings)???? and if we look at JP's stats then he has essentaiily failed in 2 tests of the handfull that he has many runs had AB scored ( or should I ask how many times he has thrown his wicket away after getting a start). People mone about race in sport - but as soon as a quality black player doesn't perform ( even once) then they cite him as a BEE failure and call for his head- 2 faced fools....

  • Just Cricket - 2010-01-04 08:57

    @Sam. Boucher is averaging 57.75 in this series with the best strike rate of SA (batting at 4 r/o) and second only to Strauss. He has also faced the second most balls of the SA team and third after Kallis and Collingwood. Boucher also hit the most 4's of all the players. He is the leading catcher and 1 ahead of Prior even though Prior has a chance to overtake him in the first innings at Newlands. Now what has he done wrong be replaced? Open your eyes mate, you would not see class if it hit you in the face 129 times (Boucher's test matches played). Go Boucher you are a legend and at 33 can still play a long time for SA. And as I have maintained: Duminy has been found out, he needs to up his game or be dropped. He has made only 2 fifties in the last 12 innings. Dunminy = middle order batsman averaging 35 (9 games) vs Prince = middle order batsman averaging 44 (51 games). You choose....

  • JJ - 2010-01-04 09:41

    Judging from the comments so far above it seems like the majority want Duminy, Amla, and Prince out of the team, and coincidentally they are all black players. My god let us not return to the "lilly white" team again. Dumminy and Amla are world class cricketers and I believe they are there on merit rather than "skin colour". Give them a break guys.

  • Riaan du Plessis - 2010-01-04 09:48

    We have not performed up to our potential so far in this test series.It seems as though the players lack confidence and self belief.I dont think the selectors should drop Jp Duminy...he will come around,but i do think that our up and coming players like Rilee Rossouw should start getting international exposure....its time to breed and develop new talent.Makaya has served us wonderfully over the years and we should be grateful for his services rendered,but,yes,it is time for him to step aside and move on.Come on Proteas...we have the talent,we can beat England..!!!Im starting to wonder if there arent internal problems in the side...My choice for a coach is Ray Jennings because he is a task master and he will instill some much needed disciplin in the side.He is old school,where hard work and training pays off and he has alot of experience as a coach...I believe thats the department where we lacking.

  • DougieB - 2010-01-04 10:13

    Thanks to the likes of Ash, Bill & Raj, we have some sensible blogging this morning. Once again JK and MB have shown their worth. I agree that Prince should move back down the order, letting Neil Mac back in. Why do we always rate him on the Oz series instead of the others? Duminy is real class but a spell back with the cobras might do wonders for his confidence. Smith, Mackie, Amla, Kallis, Prince, De Villiers make a good top 6 with Duminy knocking on the door.

  • Thinking - 2010-01-04 11:04

    I am just asking guys, so don't shoot me please. How about bringing in that Khan oke from KZN as opening bat?

  • Just Cricket - 2010-01-04 12:42

    @Thinking. The only problem is that Khan is horribly out of form and don't feature in the top 20 in teh SS series. Take a pick of in form openers/transformed openers in the SS series: Cook, Peterson, McKenzie, Puttick, Bosman. McKenzie?

  • Thinking - 2010-01-04 13:54

    @Just Cricket. Thank you. Stepped on my own wicket there.

  • Susan - 2010-01-04 16:14

    I always like Jacques Kallis and he is a real match saver.PURE CLASS!!!!!. I think it is time to get rid of Greame Smith

  • Ash - 2010-01-04 17:04

    @just cricket McKensie to open for his exerience - if SA win or Draw next test match and series is in balance. Any one of the other options if SA lose this test match, thereby exposing a new player to international scene requiring experience. (Series will be lost so then blood someone else)

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