South Africa v Sri Lanka, 3rd Test, Cape Town, 4th day January 6, 2012

224, Three, Six - A numbers game for Kallis

ESPNcricinfo presents the Plays of the Day from the fourth day of the third Test at Cape Town

Comedy of the day
South Africa expected to finish things off early on the fourth morning but were denied by stubborn resistance from Thilan Samaraweera and Angelo Matthews. Their best chance of dislodging one of the pair came with a run-out opportunity. Matthews defended the ball into the covers and called for the run. By the time he decided against it, Samaraweera was halfway down the pitch and Alviro Petersen had his eye trained on the stumps. Samaraweera gave up but Petersen's throw went completely wrong and found Morne Morkel at mid-on, allowing Samaraweera enough time to get back.

Shot of the day
Samaraweera made full use of his let off in the morning session and played a second convincing knock on tour. He scored the bulk of his runs on the leg side but his best shot came with a pin straight drive down the ground off Vernon Philander, South Africa's most threatening bowler. The delivery was full and Samaraweera used the length to play an aerial shot past Philander that raced to the boundary for four.

Review of the day
With the match heading to an inevitable conclusion, reviews were expected to be plentiful and careless. Graeme Smith decided to go upstairs for an appeal for a catch off Thilan Samaraweera when everyone including Mark Boucher was unconvinced that he had hit it. But the desperate review came when Matthews was given out lbw off Philander. The ball struck him below the knee roll, in front of middle stump and all he may have been wondering was whether it was going to hit the top half of the wickets or the bottom. Matthews was obviously trying to prolong his stand with Samaraweera but no amount of technology could help him do that.

Wicket of the day
South Africa needed six sticks to finish the series off and the best of them was the one that saw Rangana Herath walk back to the changing room. A fired up Jacques Kallis, who has been bowling spells of over 140 kph, banged one in short. Herath was done for pace and lobbed the ball up to Kallis, who took the catch stooping low in his follow-through. It gave him his third wicket and his sixth pouch - a record for the most number of catches by an outfielder at Newlands and equalled the record for the most number of catches by a South African in a match. And alongside his 224, the obvious man of the match.

Aerial shot of the day
The innings was coming to a close, Sri Lanka's lower order decided to have some fun in the sun. Dhammika Prasad had two lucky escapes while lashing out. When he mis-hit Imran Tahir to long off, Morne Morkel spilled the catch as Tahir was already halfway towards him. Famous for his over-the-top celebrations, Tahir was also mid air-punch when he had to turn back to his mark. Two balls later, Prasad tried to take Tahir on again and swing wildly to mid-wicket. The ball swirled in the air but eluded Petersen to leave Tahir in distress again.

Mini-milestone of the day
Sri Lanka will be able to take some heart from making South Africa bat again, even if it was only to score two runs. Chanaka Welegedara gave his team the most slender lead when he smashed Kallis for six, over his head, the ball before being clean bowled. Sri Lanka avoided an innings defeat and prolonged the match for an extra 10 minutes. It took just one ball, which not a legitimate delivery as Prasad overstepped, to end the match and give South Africa their first series win at home since 2008. The first target in Test matches ever achieved off 0.0 overs.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Raj on January 8, 2012, 22:26 GMT

    He doesnt get the accolades because he is not great to watch batting to be honest. Never has been and never will be. But a great player in my opinion. Wish we had him..Best allrounder ever alongside Sobers

  • Kinesh on January 7, 2012, 14:59 GMT

    This man is the most underrated player of all time. A great batsman and a good bowler.

  • Jabran on January 7, 2012, 10:01 GMT

    The only other person who can lay a claim to being the best all-rounder ever is Gary Sobers. Had he played ODIs, we may have known him better. But to consider the fact that Kallis plays T20s, ODIs and test cricket, bowls not spin but fast-medium and is such a good slip catcher as he is, i have little doubt he is the best all rounder ever.

  • Dummy4 on January 7, 2012, 6:55 GMT

    Kallis is the best cricketer ever,no doubt about that. He is the most underrated too.

  • barani on January 7, 2012, 6:34 GMT

    Hi Nathangonmad, Who said kallis is not recoginized. He is an uncomparable unique player in the world. He is the best than any cricketers in the world when it comes to team result. He deserves the best.

  • Dummy4 on January 7, 2012, 6:21 GMT

    Disappointing for the Sri Lankans after the fantastic victory in Durban, but still some positives to take away, certainly a long sight better than the hapless Indians who face the prospect of another 4-0 whitewash and will then have their agony prolonged in the long triangular ODI series with Sri Lanka and Australia.

  • Merv on January 7, 2012, 5:54 GMT

    He is better than Tendulkar. Better average, more runs for 150 tests and 275 wickets! He is the Master!

  • Dummy4 on January 7, 2012, 5:50 GMT

    @nathangonmad, I have the same question. This guy scores all over the world all sort of surfaces. Scored centuries and centuries on bowler friendly fast wickets, not only on state highway look alike flat tracks we see in some part of the world where people stacking up runs. Not to mentioned all the wickets he took, A genuine all-rounder and a true cricketer.

    You just wonder why India has all the great batsmen and not a single good bowler! Simply because the tracks are tailored made for their batters to suit!

  • Dummy4 on January 7, 2012, 5:45 GMT

    What a Great Player! No doubt. he is no.1 cricketer.

  • Johnathon on January 7, 2012, 5:37 GMT

    Its interesting to debate, but had there been Wayne Parnell of Tsotsobe instead of Philander, I really think it would have been a more competitive series. Dilshan messed up at the toss, but imagine if SA won the toss instead and put Lanka in to field, so really there are no excuses. Sri Lanka was blown away by Philander though, and might have put up a better fight if he was not bowling. Its hard to fight with Steyn, Philander, and Morne Morkel bowling 90 MPH + with variable bounce for a subcontinent team. Then add Imran Tahir in the mix and SA have found their winning bowling combination that will last a couple more years

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