South Africa v India, 2nd Test, Durban, 3rd day December 28, 2013

Kallis pushes South Africa towards 300


South Africa 299 for 5 (Kallis 78*, Jadeja 4-87) trail India 334 by 35 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Why is Hashim Amla getting bowled?

In his final Test, Jacques Kallis methodically reached yet another half-century and left people wondering why he wasn't carrying on in the longest format.

He remained on course for a farewell hundred, and with the help of AB de Villiers, who conjured a 50-plus score for the 10th Test in a row, took South Africa to a solid position before rain and bad light stopped play an hour after tea. India had begun the day well, with three wickets early on, before Kallis and de Villiers got together and blunted the attack with a 127-run stand.

De Villiers was the more fluent of the two as Kallis, who was struck on the arm by Zaheer Khan, took his time gauging the track. He opened up with a couple of cracking aerial hits down the ground off Jadeja and there was also a classic backfoot punch off Ishant before lunch as evidence of his solidity at the crease.

But there were questions to be asked of Kallis' tactics as the day wore on. While an undisputed all-time great, the questions over whether his batting is dominant enough have never really gone away, and those doubts will be back in circulation after his sluggish scoring rate towards the end of the day. He showed little enterprise against even a part-timer like Rohit Sharma and South Africa scored at below two an over at a time when they needed to get the game moving, especially considering a high possibility of rain on both the remaining days of this Test.

The one bright spot in the Indian attack was Ravindra Jadeja who, in his first Test as the lead spinner, put an end to discussions over whether he should have been picked ahead of R Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha. He didn't just play a containing role to support the quicks - which he did, wheeling in over after over - but also made four breakthroughs to make sure South Africa didn't run away with the game.

The most important of those was of de Villiers midway through the second session. South Africa were rattling along at about five an over after lunch, India were looking ragged, and though Jadeja brought in a measure of control, de Villiers had just hit a reverse-swept boundary and the deficit was below 100. Jadeja then got the ball to spin sharply, taking the outside edge through to slip to end a burgeoning partnership.

That sucked the momentum out of the innings, as JP Duminy took his time to settle in and Kallis couldn't force the pace either. Kallis reached his half-century soon after de Villiers' dismissal, but scored just five singles off his next 40 deliveries as Jadeja kept a leash on the scoring. In the 15 post-de Villiers overs till tea, South Africa made 27. India opted against the new ball and with Jadeja and Rohit bowling in the fading light, South Africa crawled, losing Duminy in the process as well.

Progress had been more brisk in the morning for South Africa, before Jadeja's bounce provided the first wicket of the day. Graeme Smith looked to smash the ball over the leg side, but it hit high on the bat and swirled to midwicket, where Shikhar Dhawan sprinted back and safely collected the ball as it fell over his shoulder.

Hashim Amla's dry spell continued when he played down the wrong line to a Mohammed Shami delivery to lose his offstump, and off the very next ball, the set Alviro Petersen was surprised by the bounce from Jadeja to glove a catch to first slip. Again, it was a sharp catch, with M Vijay diving forward to pouch a low chance. South Africa had lost three wickets for 10 runs and had two new batsmen in the middle.

There was only a small crowd in considering it was an early start, but they made plenty of noise as Kallis walked out to bat and was greeted by a guard of honour from India. The emotion of the moment didn't seem to affect Kallis, as he set about thwarting India's bowlers.

He was helped by the off-colour India attack. Ishant Sharma was back to his profligate self, providing gifts on the leg stump, and Zaheer wasn't able to consistently threaten either. Shami was the pick of the medium-pacers, getting the ball to regularly reverse in and constantly hitting speeds near 140kph.

Though they take the points for the day's play, South Africa's batsmen would have to find a better balance between caution and aggression when they take the crease tomorrow if they want to fulfil de Villiers' hopes of a lead of 100 and a subsequent series win.

'Surprised by South Africa's attitude'

Siddarth Ravindran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Android on December 29, 2013, 11:11 GMT

    this match has draw written all over it. Smith should be kicking himself for not winning the first one

  • Dummy4 on December 29, 2013, 10:17 GMT

    I don't really understand the lack of urgency with the South Africans. They already missed out winning the first test due to their timidity. Now they seem to be rambling along without building a big lead.

    The South African bowlers have had trouble with the India top order in every inning in this series so far. India is probably not going to be skittled out for 150. So SA need a big lead and time to make some quick runs in their second innings as well.

    I don't understand the SA strategy. Are they so risk averse, even after the first test, that they are willing to jeopardize their chances of winning the test and series? Why are they always so willing to settle for a draw?

  • Rohan on December 29, 2013, 10:12 GMT

    @ TommytuckerSaffa : Mate, instead of worrying about anything else you have got to look at how you are gonna fare in tests against pak. Hope they dont demoralise you to an extent that you fail against BD too, lol.

  • Android on December 29, 2013, 10:11 GMT

    This match is a 99.9 percent tie... Very less hope for a team to win. This series will be a draw for 0-0!

  • ESPN on December 29, 2013, 10:08 GMT

    This SA batting line up must be one of the best in Test History. Philander and Steyn at 9 and 10 are solid and Morkel is not a complete bunny. I don't have the stats on this XI's combined averages but has there ever been better?

  • Rohan on December 29, 2013, 10:08 GMT

    @ Steven Charie : Yea, I choose to comment on comments and I dont really see how that is wrong... About RR, I certainly do no disagree with what you said because thats what really is the beauty of test cricket. Its just the people here who in India's innings were going on and on about the RR and now say it is the need of the hour, huh? Perhaps you will also take time to realise the idea behind what one is trying to convey instead of giving yourself a feeling that someone is trying to nip you in the ........

  • greig on December 29, 2013, 10:05 GMT

    Still no new ball. Dhoni obviously going for a draw.

  • Aidan on December 29, 2013, 10:04 GMT

    Don't think SA care much about this match - all this series for that matter (other than a nice send off for the wonderful player Kallis) - If they did - now they got a healthy 60 run lead with only a 1 1/2 days left they would declare now. I know Clarke would. Come on Smith - Declare and try and bowl India out for 150

  • Kushal on December 29, 2013, 10:00 GMT

    People questioning India tactics confirms that most of the people who comment here have no clue how cricket is played. SA are ahead so India would try to limit the damage as much as possible. Why would Dhoni take the new ball and give it to his unreliable fast bowlers when clearly its hard to score off the old ball. SA innings runrate 2.83 and in last 10 overs 1.7. So its SA who should be taking the game forward. They are the worst no. 1 team ever. They are not aggressive at all. Fluke no. one I say.

  • Rashmi on December 29, 2013, 10:00 GMT

    @ Stephen Field: It will be a bit harsh on Tendulkar & Ponting to compare Kallis' average with them... Kallis role is different from these two... Kallis has to stay in the crease for a long time and let other batsmen score quickly... For Sachin & Ponting, the job of scoring runs for their team solely depends on them... Just like the bowling department, the Batting department also has different kind of roles for their players.... Some batsmen has to dominate the opposition bowlers while some have to stay in the crease to harass the opposition.

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