Monday, December 30, 2013

Achieving what the Little Master couldn't

There's been nowhere near as much focus on Jacques Kallis' final test match as there has been on that of Sachin Tendulkar a few weeks ago.

But whilst Tendulkar fell short of a century in his final test match, Kallis will leave the test match stage on a high; Cricinfo reports:

First session: 96 runs at 2.73 runs per over. Second session: 102 at 7.20. Third session: 73 at 1.91. The vastly varying scoring rates that Test cricket allows were on vivid display as the game meandered in the morning, before South Africa stepped on it post-lunch in search of a declaration, after which India's batsmen put up a backs-to-the-wall display in the murky light at Kingsmead.
Despite the fluctuating run-rates, it was a day on which South Africa progressively increased their advantage, first taking a substantial lead and then prising out the Indian openers. India face a fight for survival on the final day of the series.
The morning was all about one man. Jacques Kallis slowly and steadily made his way to an emotional farewell century, his 45th in Test cricket, went past Rahul Dravid to become the third highest run-getter in Tests and gradually pushed India towards an unwinnable position.
The sentiments involved were clearly evident early in the day itself, when nightwatchman Dale Steyn hugged Kallis after a miscommunication over a single. No South African wanted to be remembered as the person responsible for causing Kallis to be dismissed in his final Test, especially not before he reached a century.
In that session, it seemed as if both teams were waiting for the other to make the play. South Africa weren't playing with the intent of setting up a declaration, and India were content sitting back and limiting the runs with an increasingly ragged ball which was used for as long as 146 overs.
The bowling was almost entirely about one man too. Ravindra Jadeja bowled unchanged for half the day in a marathon 25-over spell as he provided the control India were searching for. Jadeja also finally broke the stubborn 86-run partnership between Kallis and Steyn by getting Kallis to top edge a slog sweep and complete his five-for. 
As Kallis walked back, there were poignant scenes. The Sunday crowd saluted him with a standing ovation, the South African team greeted him with hugs outside the pavilion, and the captain Graeme Smith kissed him on his head.  

Jacques Kallis has been a magnificent servant of South African cricket, and is arguably the best all-rounder to have ever played the game. Along with his 13,000-plus test runs he has 292 test wickets, and has snared 200 catches in test matches. Those are just his test match statistics!

Whilst Kallis is very much a batting all-rounder, his bowling has been a key component of South Africa's success in the test arena, and he has a knack for taking important wickets or breaking partnerships. Having a bowler of his quality as your fourth seamer would give any side a huge boost.

Jacques Kallis made his test debut in the 1995-96 season, so whilst his longevity has been a few years less than Tendulkar's, he has been a stellar performer. What New Zealand would give to have a player of his quality in the current set-up!


pdm said...

The Aussie commentators have been going on at length during the Ashes series that Michael Clarke is the best batsman currently playing. I do not agree - I think that status belongs to either of the two South Africans Hashan Amla and Jacques Kallis and there is nothing between them.

Kallis of course excels as an all rounder and he would in all probability take the new ball for most other countries - he is also no slug in the slip catching department either.

His retirement at the same time as Tendulars leaves test cricket the poorer.

Keeping Stock said...

Well said pdm; couldn't agree more.