South Africa v Sri Lanka, 3rd Test, Cape Town, 2nd day January 4, 2012

Kallis savours 'special' landmark at home


Jacques Kallis' first double-hundred was celebrated with a golf swing, a salute to the heavens and a massive sigh of relief. It had taken him 143 Tests to reach the landmark and end speculation that he was unable to take the step into triple-figures that begin with a 2. Just 13 innings later, he achieved what had once eluded him for a decade and a half, again. This time, Kallis celebrated with a leap and swipe of the bat, a laugh and a swagger.

To get a double-century once was proving a point. To get it twice was simply a cause for celebration. "They are both special," Kallis said. "But the special part is probably getting it at Newlands, especially with the series being 1-1. It's nice to be one of those guys who puts in a big performance."

Prior to the deciding Test, Graeme Smith described Kallis as "the most stubborn man in the world." Smith said that although the team as a whole was hurting from the Durban defeat, Kallis was probably stung the hardest because of his poor showings with the bat in the summer so far. In four innings against Australia he scored 58 and in the previous two against Sri Lanka managed only 31 in three innings, including the first pair of his career.

Kallis said the bad press didn't bother him, especially because he "doesn't really read newspapers." Suggestions in the local press have been that he needs more careful management but Kallis swatted that away with disdain. "You don't become a bad player overnight," he said. "It's crazy to see stuff like that getting written, that you're old and you can't do this or that, come on, seriously."

His problems against the short ball were of particular concern and Sri Lanka persisted in peppering him with them. He said he wasn't too taken aback by their tactics. "That's obviously the way they felt they could get me out early," he said. "Maybe they read a few newspapers." Sri Lanka could have had Kallis out for one, when he pulled Dhammika Prasad to fine leg and Chanaka Welegedara did not pick the ball up in time to take the catch.

Kallis, like Sangakkara before him, made full use of his opportunity and went on to play one of his greatest innings on a batsman-friendly pitch. "If you get in, go big," he said. "It's nice to get in and cash in on a good deck."

Kallis did more than just cash in, as he landed in a sea full of coins, bringing up 200 in 280 balls. Although the overall team run-rate was high, Kallis said he has made a conscious effort in the last few years to be more aggressive. "I've scored a lot quicker in Test cricket and I've worked on a lot of things to make that happen," he said "I've been a little bit more positive over the last four years." He was also assisted by the rest of his line-up, which he feels is now at its most solid. "We complement each other pretty well," he said.

The best pairing of the day was between Kallis and de Villiers, who scored 193 runs between them. While Kallis grafted, de Villiers soared. "He is a special player," Kallis said. "The best seat in the house is at the non-strikers end watching him bat. He certainly is going to be one of the greats of the game and can take the game away from the opposition."

South Africa's massive first-innings lead has likely swung the pendulum their way and Kallis said they are confident that they have enough to close out the series. "There's no reason why we can't pick up 20 wickets," Kallis said. "There is some uneven bounce and a couple of balls did turn today. Immi [Imran Tahir] has a lot of overs left for him in the next couple of days. Fortunately we've batted at a good rate, so we've given ourselves some extra time to try and bowl them out twice."

The declaration came 40 minutes before tea, which was South Africa's way of dangling a bit of carrot at Sri Lanka. "We felt we had to go the positive way and to win the game that was the best thing to do," Kallis said. "If you go further, the only real hope you have of winning the game is to make them follow-on."

Sri Lanka may yet have to follow-on but even if they avoid it, Kallis feels South Africa have enough in them to force a series win at home (if achieved, it will be their first series win at home since 2008). "We realised we let ourselves down in Durban and there is no way that stuff like that should happen," he said.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on January 6, 2012, 19:01 GMT

    224 runs, six impressive catches, and three match changing wickets dispels any doubt I think that he was and still is by some distance the World's leading all rounder. Shakib Al Hasan according to the ICCs flawed ranking system had recently overhauled him in and for that position but his performance in this match demonstrates that he and any other candidate(s) are not even in the same class as Kallis. His contribution after the pair in Durban puts into contrast just what this man is capable of when he is in anything like decent touch with the bat and in the field- I can't remember the last time he actually dropped a catch!!..& to say nothing of his bowling ability as a 'go to' partnership breaker. Summing up Smith said that the Proteas have got a no.of new/differenet challenges ahead of them. In the long term replacing??... someone like Kallis is certainly one of them.

  • Dummy4 on January 5, 2012, 11:30 GMT

    he is much better then tendulker.............and other modern greats.......

  • max on January 5, 2012, 8:48 GMT

    noob desision from smith atleast he would have allowed devilliers to get to his 200 after seeing he scored 100-160 in just 31 balls lots of time left if srilanka capitalizes on conditions then herath would be troublesome for rsa in 3rd innings

  • Srinivas on January 5, 2012, 6:52 GMT

    It's about time the best cricketer since Sir Gary gets more double hundreds. Take a bow! Will the world ever see a complete cricketer like him? I doubt it. I can't imagine our (India's) media's tomtom if Sachin were to have the same allround statistics as this great man. Kallis is the greatest cricketer since Sir Gary. Please include him in Cricinfo's Legends of Cricket. It's about time. What more should he do? In fact, the list is incomplete without him. Cricinfo, please consider and contemplate.

  • Dru on January 5, 2012, 6:22 GMT

    There are few better things in cricket than watching Kallis and it was irritating to see some of the rubish written about this guy after his first pair. I still think he doesnt get the recognition he deserves - the guy is a living legend and for the record - he is better than Sorbers! That's a bit like saying someone's better than Bradman - it is the unthinkable in cricket - and we have him palying right now and poeple still want to talk non-sense when it come to Kallis. There is only ONE who comes close to Kallis and that is Sorbers and when Kallis is done he will be the measure for an alrounder.

  • Sialkoti on January 5, 2012, 4:08 GMT

    Robotic great term used by hhillbumper. That means he is technically better batsman because he is batting machine. One paced, i agree but that's what test cricket is all about. Win it or draw it. In both cases you will find Kallis in front of any bowling attack. Great innings by machine. Technically most solid batsman ever. He has every shot in the book which he plays according to text book. I wish i had the greatness of Kallis in cricket. I would consider my self dady of all.

  • Jem on January 5, 2012, 3:53 GMT

    Excellent comment by Paul Argyle. I'm English through and through and was never a big Kallis fan in his early years, but his stats have just kept on building and now he's the first name I look for. I watched his innings on tv here in the UK and in the early part especially, he batted as well as I've ever seen him. As said, he has to be one of the truly great cricketers, not just all-rounders, that the world has ever seen. His modesty only makes him all the more special. Keep going Jacques... apart from next summer in England, of course! :)

  • Johan on January 5, 2012, 1:44 GMT

    Well done Jacques! As a Saffer I followed your career with great interest and you seldom disappoint. You are a great roll model for the youngsters to follow, may you still score many runs for SA over the next couple of years! How about a 5'er to put the cherry on the cake! You are simply the best!

  • Dummy4 on January 5, 2012, 0:43 GMT

    He would be first picked in my World XI

  • Craig on January 4, 2012, 22:14 GMT

    Great knock by the living legend. Interesting that Kallis says AB could be the next great - the way Amla has come on over the last few years I reckon he can be a great. What AB and Amla will never match up to is Kallis's bowling and all-round skills so no matter what they do with the bat - they will still fall just short of Kallis legandary status.

    I would be very chuffed if AB and Amla can get to 40 tons along with Smith...

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