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The Wisden Bulletin
January 5, 2004
Close South Africa 532 and 335 for 3 (Gibbs 142, Kallis 130*) lead West Indies 427 by 440 runs
Herschelle Gibbs clips another boundary in his 142
© Getty Images
Jacques Kallis recorded his third century of the series, and Herschelle Gibbs his second, as South Africa batted on - and on and on - on the fourth day of the third Test at Cape Town. By the close, their endeavours had secured a lead of 440, and with one day remaining, not even Brian Lara would fancy his chances of overhauling that sort of a target.
By the close, the West Indians had been run completely ragged. With the part-time spinners Ramnaresh Sarwan and Chris Gayle wheeling away in tandem, the closing overs were a cavalcade of sixes and dropped catches (including one drop that went for six). Gibbs eventually chanced his arm once too often and holed out to Gayle on the midwicket boundary for 142, but Kallis finished the day unbeaten on 130 - his 14th Test century.
The Windies had briefly thought that their day's work was complete, when Cape Town's inclement weather rolled in shortly after lunch. Even then, South Africa's lead was a useful 293, and with eight wickets remaining they might have expected to chance their arm for quick runs. Instead, it didn't quite turn out like that, and neither batsman was willing to take any risks until he had reached his landmark.
Eventually, though, Gibbs steered the wayward Fidel Edwards through the gully region to bring up his hundred from exactly 200 balls, and from that moment on, there was no holding him back. He walloped Sarwan over square leg for six in his next over, before leaning back to heave a rank long-hop deep into the crowd at midwicket.
Kallis followed a remarkably similar pattern - a dab for three to bring up his century, then a mighty six over square leg to celebrate. Although Gibbs fell in the same over to bring an end to their 251-run partnership, Kallis clobbered two more sixes in quick succession before the close.
The day had briefly looked like being a fruitful one for West Indies, when they grabbed two quick wickets in the first quarter of an hour. After resuming at 38 for 0, South Africa lost Graeme Smith (24) in the second over, as he shouldered arms to Edwards and watched his off stump cartwheel out of the ground (48 for 1). And six balls later Jacques Rudolph aimed a weak waft at a wide ball from Vasbert Drakes and was caught behind for 0 (54 for 2). How long ago his first-innings hundred must have seemed as he trudged off.
Gibbs began with typical aggression, but was more subdued as the lunch interval approached. But West Indies continued to provide far too much width, with most overs containing at least one bad ball. Both Gibbs and Kallis were happy to wait for the inevitable gift delivery, and the bowlers duly obliged. They were just beginning to cut loose when the heavens opened and play was interrupted for nearly two hours.
At that stage, a cynic might have suggested it was West Indies' best day of the series. But a swift mopping-up operation later, and there was very little to be cheerful about.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.