India in SA

Kallis ticks double ton box

2010-12-18 21:05
Jacques Kallis (Gallo Images)
Centurion - For the better part of a decade Jacques Kallis has had to field questions about his failure to score a Test double century.

"It's a relief not to have to answer the question any more," said Kallis, 35, after making 201 not out in the first Test against India on Saturday.

Back in 2001/02, Kallis failed to increase his tempo and was stuck on 189 not out when a declaration came against Zimbabwe in Bulawayo.

The innings spanned almost six hours and 443 balls and with a day already lost to rain his captain Hansie Cronje couldn't afford to wait any longer.

Since then the centuries have rolled off the Kallis bat as he has risen to fifth place on the list of all-time Test run scorers. Only two players have scored more than his 38 centuries.

Until Saturday he was the only player in the top 15 of the all-time list without a double century, yet there have been several occasions when it seemed he would notch the elusive 200.

Against the West Indies in Durban in 2003/04 he made 177. There was a knock of 162 against England at the same venue the following season and he made 186 against New Zealand in Johannesburg in 2007/08. Last season he hit 173 against India in Nagpur.

Somehow he found ways to fall short. When the inevitable questions arose, he would feign a lack of concern, although he conceded it would be nice to do it "one day".

That day finally arrived against India at Centurion on Saturday and when he glanced Jaidev Unadkat to the fine leg boundary to take his score to 201, there was no hiding the elation, which was shared by batting partner AB de Villiers, his team-mates on the dressing room balcony and a big crowd.

He also looked skywards in honour of his father Henry, who died in 2003.

"Hopefully he and my mother (who died when he was a young child) were up there watching," he said.

"It's a fantastic landmark and something that I have worked for and hoped to get the chance to achieve one day," said Kallis. "It's nice to tick that box off and move on."

Asked whether it was extra special to make the breakthrough against India, ranked the number one Test side, Kallis quipped: "I probably would have taken it against Bangladesh or Zimbabwe, with all due respect to them. But it's nice to get it against the world's best side at the moment. It makes it a little more special, given that it's such a big series, and to play a big role in putting us in a very commanding position."

Kallis started the third day of the first Test on 102. By lunch he had moved to 182.

"It was the longest 40 minutes of lunch break I have experienced," he said.

"It's fine when you are out in the middle and playing but when you start thinking about how you can get this question off your back you start playing mind games."

One call Kallis plans to make is to industrialist Johann Rupert, who sent him a message while he was playing against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates last month promising honorary life membership of Rupert's exclusive Leopard Creek golf club, rated the best course in South Africa.

"He's the first person I'll be phoning when I get back in the changing room."

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