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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Vijay on December 28, 2013, 14:18 GMT

    Kallis is is great. Being an allrounder with 44 hundreds in tests and almost 300 wickets means he will count as a great. He could have easily gone past Each in if he focused purely on bowling or he played more on friendly Indian wickets.

  • Peter on December 28, 2013, 14:16 GMT

    Kallis is without doubt the best batsman in the last 20 years.

    Do not forget that he was not taking it easy on the boundary when the team was fielding - he was in the thick of the action - bowling and fielding in the slips and he averaged more than the other contenders for this title.

    So hats to to this guy - well done.

  • Dummy4 on December 28, 2013, 13:39 GMT

    kallis and sachin both are great players and nobody acan compare them.. kallis is a champion allrounder who can turn matches 180 degrees and sachin was a great batsman. the thing is kallis is retiring when he is great and no body wants him to retire. but sachin retired after everybody wants him to retire.

  • Abhishek on December 28, 2013, 12:33 GMT

    @Arrow: That was such an unpleasant comment. It is a disgrace to India. Kallis is the greatest of the modern era. And Sach is one of the greatest batsmen. And Kallis aint retiring from Cricket. He is still going to be playing the ODIs. Where as for Sachin it was his last "match". And Sachin is a GOD not just for his cricket. He was a hero. That doesnt mean all other great cricketers who dont command such following are anything less. Jacques kallis... You have millions of fans in India. And I wish from the bottom of my heart that you get a century and bow out with a series win. All the best!!!!!

  • Android on December 28, 2013, 10:15 GMT

    Proteas win it for Kallis

  • irish on December 28, 2013, 9:43 GMT

    Comparing Steyn with Ashwin is like comparing Honda City with Tata Nano...Steyn doesnt to be at mercy of selectors. He is champion bowler...Someone India always and will dream of to be part of their side...Ashwin sorry dear you may be handy in sub continent but u also know its Ur batting that makes u stay in team..Harbhajan was and is gar better than u...He was fighter who took on likes of pontings and akhtars...He took them on... You are just an ordinary bowler and great liability abroad...Harbhajan we need you...we need fighters...

  • Dummy4 on December 28, 2013, 8:11 GMT

    what a carear jacque have nice person and i think suddenly inidia are losing this matche because of less experince player

  • david on December 28, 2013, 7:57 GMT

    Dear Arrow011 - you are wee bit deluded as your whole country is. There is something inherently wrong with a society that stops dead for one sportsman, wonderful cricketer that he was. But longevity has helped that. Kallis has been the greatest tradesman cricketer, no fuss, no drama, just did the job and bloody well. Tendulkar was beautiful to watch when he got going, no doubt, but to me Lara is the greatest of this generation, only person to 500 in 1st class innings, world record test score TWICE and ten years apart. Tendulkar only got a handful of 200s. Lara was a genius.

  • Bhaskar on December 28, 2013, 7:03 GMT

    @David Volmer - The poor reception for Kallis in his retirement, which is not even 10% of Sachin's retirement day shows how puny Kallis is infront of the God of cricket (Sachin), entire India almost came to a standstill, there was low traffic, all the TV sets were on, the stadium was choke full even there are reports tickets in stadium were sold at over 1000% profit & in many parts of India the live cricket match was played in movie halls. In comparison all one can see in Durban is bare bodied men dancing with beer in hand & few hundreds of placards, that is all. If you have star sports tv channel in your place check it, even today Sachin Sachin program is going on about his retirement which happened around 40 days before. Even in South africa more people come to watch Sachin than kallis, so do not make mindless comparison between Sachin & just another cricketer.

  • Varnendra on December 28, 2013, 5:22 GMT

    Yes India can be beaten in 3 1/2 days by Eng, Aus, SA and Pak. Indian bowling has not changed for years and decades. Yes, they bowl a little faster than before. But runs come as easy as before to the opposition; no pressure. India get wickets and occasional wins when others get complacent. There are only 4 genuine test teams in the world now. SA, Aus, Eng and Pak. Eventhough they can't bat Pak bowlers make sure it is worth watching Pak play the bigger teams. India don't improve because they and their fans deny they are not good.

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