South Africa v India, 2nd Test, Durban, 2nd day December 27, 2013

Steyn eager to win Durban Test for Kallis

Was Kallis better than Sobers?

Jacques Kallis told Dale Steyn a week ago the Durban Test match would be his last. Steyn didn't believe him.

"He always lies to me, he always jokes around about things like that, so I didn't think it was true," Steyn said. "Then, when the announcement came, I knew he was being serious. It's terribly sad."

Steyn is "quite close" to Kallis so the news was as much, if not more, of a shock to him, than to everyone else, including the Indian camp. M Vijay confirmed they were stunned by having "two legends retire in the space of two months". Like Morne Morkel, who said his ankle recovered an extra 10% when he realised Kingsmead was his last opportunity to play alongside Kallis, Steyn quickly understood the best way to honour Kallis would be to send him off with victory.

Rain washed out the morning session on day two and with the surface being sluggish, there remain concerns that there won't be enough time for a result though. "There are three days left, so I hope we can get a result, especially for Jacques," Steyn said. "We will do everything in our power to try and win it for him. We were on the edge of winning in Johannesburg and then we didn't, but rather than go 1-0 down there, we stand a chance of winning the series here."

Steyn was one of the two men, Philander being the other, who made the decision not to go for glory at the Wanderers. Like Smith explained afterwards, South Africa did not want to risk losing and give themselves no chance of a series win in Durban. Kallis, it seems, wanted the same.

"He sat down and had a little talk with us and said he didn't want to play his last Test in Durban and for it to fizzle out and be a draw," Steyn said. "So we have to do whatever it takes. Whatever it is, whether we have to score quickly, take 10 wickets again, whatever, we'll do it."

Steyn already showed his commitment to the cause with the way he bowled. After going wicketless on day one, he showed better intent today and took three wickets apiece in his opening and closing spell to ensure India did not run away with the first innings. Smith and Alviro Petersen have also demonstrated that feeling. They scored at over four runs to the over as South Africa looked to build quickly.

Kallis has not had the opportunity to contribute much yet, although the catch he took at slip off JP Duminy's bowling will be an important memory from this match. It was his 200th grab and put him second on the all-time list of catches in Test cricket, below Rahul Dravid, from whom he is also 114 runs away on the run-getters charts. Despite the records that beckon and the emotion of the match, Steyn said Kallis is not feeling any tension. "In the change-room, he is more talkative than he has ever been," he said. "I think he is really enjoying his last moments in whites. Obviously he will still be around for the one-dayers but he is really making the most of his time left in Tests and we will do everything we can to give him a victory in his last Test."

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent