Lower order showed guts - Kallis
Jacques Kallis showed once again why he is South Africa's leading man with the bat, making 161 out of his team's total of 362, and adding 79 potentially crucial runs with numbers 10 and 11, but was happy to give credit to the lower order for sticking it out with him.
"It wasn't easy out there and they got us those 70-80 extra runs," Kallis said after he added 27 runs with Paul Harris for the ninth wicket and 52 runs with Tsotsobe for the last wicket. out of which Tsotsobe made eight. "It's the first time he's ever been involved in a 50-run partnership," Kallis said of the number 11 batsmen, "so he felt like he'd scored a hundred."
Although Harris and Tsotsobe collectively contributed 15 runs, Kallis felt it was their intent, more than their runs, that were important. "It showed the guts and determination the guys are willing to put in." While the tail was wagging, Kallis was leaving when it was necessary and hitting the balls he felt deserved to be hit. The key was being aware of his off stump, something that he said is "vital" on the Newlands wicket and only learned from playing here. "It's a matter of experience in the conditions. That's when you'll know when to put your foot on the accelerator and when to hang five."
Kallis struck the delicate balance between the two modes of playing perfectly and revelled in the difficulty of the situation. "I really enjoyed it, it was a big challenge and it was nice to come through it when conditions are against you. I think that's why you play this game. You want to be tested against the best in trying conditions." It was Kallis' third successive century at Newlands, and 39th in all, drawing him level with Ricky Ponting.
The circumstances were tough given the pitch, but Kallis said that batting became easier on day two when "the sun baked the wicket a little bit." Although it's predicted to be bright and hot again on day three, Kallis doesn't think the pitch will start to sprout runs and believes South Africa's bowlers could benefit from it more than India's batsmen. "There's still more than enough on that wicket. Even right at the end there were a few balls going off the straight and narrow."
The first session should set the tone for the day, with Kallis explaining that, "Generally, at Newlands the ball does a little bit more in the morning than in the afternoon." Although he will play no part in South Africa's bowling, he said that if the guys get "two or three wickets, it will make life a lot easier." While the attention is focused on Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel, Kallis think its Harris and Tsotsobe that will play a big role. "Lopsy has bowled pretty well throughout the series and had four or five catches put down on his bowling. He's been unlucky."
Kallis thinks batting will stay tough and that "working hard on defensive technique" will be the key. At this stage of the game, he thinks South Africa hold the advantage. "We are still in a very strong position; a little bit ahead of the game, having the runs on the board," but wisely acknowledges "that can change very quickly." Day three is going to be a turning point in the match, one Kallis will be have to be content with watching from the dressing room.
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent