Pakistan v South Africa, 1st Test, Karachi, 4th day October 4, 2007

The stodge and the fury

Following Jacques Kallis's hundred, Younis Khan's madcap counter in the last session showed that Pakistan are also in the game, though only just



Jacques Kallis: "This hundred was a more grinding innings and we just had to make sure we had enough runs on the board." © AFP

A Jacques Kallis-sized imprint awaits this Test. His hundred in the first innings was, in his own unique, expressionless way, his most purposeful; certainly it was his fastest.

It wasn't enough, for he picked up a handy wicket and a stunning slip catch. And when Pakistan briefly threatened yesterday afternoon, he came out and, as a father might an excitable son, calmly quelled a rebellion.

This afternoon, with his 26th Test century, he became only the fourth South African to score a hundred in each innings. "To be one of the four players to have done this for South Africa is something I will look back at the end of my career and be very proud of. I've come close a few times, but fortunately today I went all the way."

Unlike the first - which he put in his own favourite top three - this hundred was from the Kallis we know: Airtight always, comfortable in his own skin and composed at his own pace. The bowling, the fields, the situation didn't give itself readily to strokeplay and after reaching fifty, he didn't hit a boundary until he reached 90, whereupon he lofted a towering six.

"This hundred was a more grinding innings and we just had to make sure we had enough runs on the board," he said. "They were two totally different innings. The first one to me was better because I struck the ball so well."

Through this Test, the tour even, the attractive idea that Kallis is somehow responding to his Twenty20 dropping has gained currency. In particular the pace of his first innings hundred fuelled, but as nonchalantly as he deadbatted Pakistan's spinners today, he swatted away the thought.

"It would've been nice to play at the Twenty20 but it's nice to start again this season and I've had a good rest. Certainly it's the longest break that I've had since I left school. It's amazing what breaks can do for you especially if you are an all-rounder and are in the game most of the time."

What Kallis' hundred and Younis Khan's madcap counter in the last session showed is that Pakistan are also in the game, though only just. The way the pitch has been spoken about, in particular its disintegration, there was some surprise a pitch even existed when the players walked on this morning. But Kallis confirmed it's there, and in better shape than many thought.

"It's still a good batting wicket though we would have taken three down at the end of the day," Kallis said. "Perhaps they got a few more runs than we would have liked but there's enough happening on the wicket for us to get those seven wickets. It's certainly going to be interesting day's cricket."

That it is, especially if Younis hangs around. "He came out and played positively," Kallis acknowledged. "I don't think we bowled as well as we could have bowled but to be fair to him he put the pressure on the bowlers and played really well.

"But in a way it's quite nice for us because if they are going for a win it would give us more opportunities. We are confident and a few early wickets would do nicely for us."

Osman Samiuddin is the Pakistan editor of Cricinfo