Jacques Kallis hit a century in his final Test match and steered South Africa into a first innings lead on the fourth day of the second and final Test against India at Kingsmead in Durban yesterday.
South Africa were 497 for eight when rain forced an early tea, a lead of 163.
Kallis made 115, his 45th Test century. A sixth wicket partnership of 86 with nightwatchman Dale Steyn (44) was achieved with largely cautious batting, but set the foundation for a batting assault by Faf du Plessis and Robin Peterson after lunch.
Du Plessis and Peterson hammered 102 runs in the 14.1 overs of play that was possible between lunch and tea. Peterson was particularly aggressive, hitting 61 off 52 balls before he was caught going for a big hit just after rain started falling. The umpires took the players off the field before next batsman Vernon Philander could face a ball. Du Plessis was on 41 not out.
Kallis is second on the all-time list of Test century-makers behind Sachin Tendulkar, who hit 51 hundreds before retiring at the end of India’s series against the West Indies last month. He moved into third place on the Test run-scorers list on 13289, one run ahead of India’s Rahul Dravid and behind only Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting of Australia.
A prolonged standing ovation greeted his century on the ground where he made his Test debut against England 18 years ago.
Among those who applauded him was India coach Duncan Fletcher, who was one of his early mentors as coach of the Western Province team when Kallis set out on his first-class career.
There were rare signs of emotion from Kallis after he completed the single off Ravindra Jadeja that took him to his hundred. He was hugged by batting partner Dale Steyn and removed his helmet as he acknowledged the applause, seemingly wiping away a tear.
It was one of his slower centuries, ground out over 334 minutes and 273 balls, but it was a vital innings on a slow, turning pitch on which a first innings lead could prove crucial.
India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni persisted with the tactics he employed on Saturday, declining to take the second new ball and continuing with defensive fields.
Left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja bowled unchanged for 21 overs from the start of play. He had figures of five for 138 from 58 overs. Dhoni finally took the new ball after 146 overs, but it could not stop the flow of runs, with 66 runs scored off 8.1 overs before the stoppage.
Kallis’ innings ended when he went for a big hit against Jadeja and top-edged the ball into the air to present an easy catch to Dhoni. The India players stood to applaud him back to the dressing room after a 393-minute, 316-ball innings. He hit 13 fours.
AFP, NAPIER, New Zealand
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