Rain on SA’s parade

2013-12-29 14:00

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Can Kallis’ fine form inspire the Proteas to win the series?

South Africa had the opportunity to take the game by the scruff of the neck in the same manner in which India did in the evening session of the third day of the first test at the Wanderers when the visitors ransacked 175 runs in 31 high-octane overs.

It is a session that often decides the path of test matches.

It was a session that set up the Proteas for a world-record chase.

Instead, the Proteas plodded and ploughed through the evening session as slowly as the rain clouds were drifting in from the south.

On a bad tactical misjudgement scale of one to 10, the Proteas would have scored a measly two.

With the series still locked at 0-0, no team showed any inclination to chase the game.

After the exertions of last Sunday’s action, a downer was expected, but not of this type.

Unless there is a spectacular collapse from either side, the likeliest result will be a draw. After the preseries predictions of a fast-bowling crucible, India will be the happier of the teams.

Any team that plays cricket in Durban has to factor in the bad light so prevalent here and budget for a minimum of four days of cricket instead of the possible five.

There are no Dolphins players in the Proteas set-up, which explains their lack of savvy regarding Durban conditions and the fact that they have gone five years without a test win here.

Cricket is a funny game and it gave Jacques Kallis a perfect stage, that of 113/3, to showcase his skills one more time for the world stage as it is likely that this could be his final innings.

South Africa will have to bat last if time allows, but the opportunity was there for him to crank up the rate to create the batting time for the fifth day.

His 127-run partnership for the fourth wicket should have taken the Proteas past India’s total.

Aside from Murali Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara’s 157-run partnership early in the game, it was the most fluent period of batting.

With De Villiers’ dismissal, the Proteas’ innings momentum died with him. Kallis is 36 runs away from displacing Rahul Dravid from third place in the highest test run- getter’s standings.

Whether they will want to bat on the last day is another story with Ravindra Jadeja extracting turn and bounce from an up-and-down pitch which will not get better.

He was responsible for four of the wickets, with only Graeme Smith caught out by his recklessness.

Alviro Petersen and AB de Villiers were out in the same manner, edging two balls of varying high quality to first slip while JP Duminy’s [28] time in the test doldrums continued when he was trapped in front.

Hashim Amla’s woes at Kingsmead continued when he was castled by Mohammed Shami.

Kallis’ final test is destined for a tame end, much like his debut at this ground 18 years ago.

»?Scorecard:

India 1st innings: 334 (M Vijay 97,

CA Pujara 70, AM Rahane 51*, Virat Kohli 46, DW Steyn 6/100, M Morkel 3/50)

South Africa 1st innings: 299/5 (JH Kallis 78*, AB de Villiers 74, AN Petersen 62,

GC Smith 47, RA Jadeja 4/87, Mohammed Shami 1/62)

South Africa trail by 35 runs

Plays of the day

»?Useful delivery

Ravindra Jadeja was getting considerable turn from an up and down wicket. He prised out Alviro Petersen and Graeme Smith with good ball, but the one to get AB de Villiers out was an absolute ripper.

»?Can you please get off the mark!

Kallis took 16 balls to get off the mark, but when he did, the crowd let him know how important that run was.

»?Where are you running to? 

Run-outs are not good at any stage of the game and when De Villiers dropped the ball into the vacant forward short leg area, the run was on and he found himself having to run to the other end. All De Villiers had to show for that was a roastie on his hip.

»?The gesture

When Hashim Amla played around a full delivery from Mohammed Shami, there wasn’t a groan from the crowd. Everyone, including media people, got up and clapped Kallis all the way to the wicket. It was a great gesture  for a legend.

»?Missed chance

The cardinal rule of fielding at  forward short leg and silly point  is to stay low for as long as possible until the ball comes off the bat,  but Shikhar Dhawan misjudged Kallis’ ball.

Trivia

»?The last drawn game at Kingsmead was the 2004/05 Boxing Day test against England. Chasing 378, South Africa made 290/8 before the light saved them.

»?The last match South Africa won at Kingsmead was an innings win against the West Indies in 2008.

»?On day three in the 2010/11 test between the two sides, seven wickets fell, but that game was already tilting in India’s favour.

»?Hashim Amla’s wait for a test hundred at Kingsmead continues.

»?Cheteshwar Pujara and Murali Vijay scored more runs in the first innings than they did combined – 57 runs in four knocks – in 2010/11.

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