A good innings for Jacques Kallis

2013-12-29 10:00

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Proteas all-rounder Jacques Kallis is by and far the best batsman to come from South Africa’s bosom. Khanyiso Tswhaku picks out five of his best test match innings and bowling performances in his long career with the Proteas

»?101 vs Australia, Melbourne, 1997

Heading into the Boxing Day test, Jacques Kallis was not fulfilling his considerable talent.

With this match-saving four-and-a-half-hour innings, he gave notice of the many rearguards he was about to perform for the country. There were only six boundaries in this gritty innings, but survival, not pretty run-making, was needed.

»?87 vs Sri Lanka, Kandy, 2000

Most batsmen don’t have hundreds as their best test innings, but this 207-ball grind in Kandy was the backbone of South Africa’s last test win in Sri Lanka.

It ensured that the Proteas gave Sri Lanka a target to chase.

»?162 vs England, Durban, 2004

Without this innings, which was his third on the trot at Kingsmead, the Proteas would have been well and truly stuffed.

Kallis’s fluent 264-ball knock ensured that the home team made the most of the bowler’s work as they dismissed England for 139 in the first innings.

»?100* vs Pakistan, Karachi, 2007

Aesthetically, the first innings 155 is better, but even the 100 in the second innings ensured that the Proteas became only the second visiting team to win a test match in Karachi.

It was only the second time a South African batsman had scored two hundreds in an innings away from home.

»?201* vs India, Centurion, 2010

It was a weak bowling attack, but for the occasion of the milestone, it will go down as one of Kallis’ best innings.

He scored quickly, something he has been criticised for in the past and, most importantly, he removed the double-century albatross in style.


»?6/54 vs England, Leeds, 2003

Kallis never batted well in England, but true to his all-rounder tag, he delivered with the ball.

In a swing king’s paradise at Headingley, he broke the back of England’s chase of 401.

»?6/67 vs West Indies, Bridgetown, 2001

His second-best bowling figures came on a slow track that offered nothing for the bowlers. While Kallis had failed with the bat, the six-for was necessary in handing the Proteas a lead.

It would have resulted in a victory had the West Indies not engaged in shameless time-wasting techniques on the last afternoon.

»?3/22 vs Australia, Johannesburg, 2009

By the time Kallis took three quick second-innings wickets, it was too late due to a pathetic South African first innings where they couldn’t even make half of Australia’s total.

Again, it was a sign of what Kallis served up with the ball when he failed with the bat.

»?3/24 vs Australia, Perth, 2008

Bowling into the Fremantle Doctor and taking wickets is not child’s play, but that is what Kallis did in the first test of the legendary 2008 series. His dry spell, which saw him concede only 1.71 runs an over, put the brakes on Australia and was one of the reasons the Proteas found themselves chasing only 414.

»?4/24 vs England, London, 1998

While this match will be remembered for Jonty Rhodes’ gutsy first-innings century and Allan Donald’s fiery spell to dismember the England batting line-up, Kallis’ four second- innings wickets made sure the work was not wasted. It would be the closest he would get to the Lords’ honours board.

South Africa’s greatest cricketer

Durban is where it started and where it ends for Jacques Kallis, and being South Africa’s greatest cricketer will always stir up emotional and irrational debate.

With or without the applause he so richly deserves, Kallis is South Africa’s greatest cricketer. His presence and ability to perform transcends mere figures and numbers.

South Africa has been blessed with all-rounders, but there will be none like him. The demands and dynamics of the modern game do not allow for the classic all-rounder.

The biggest manner in which his absence will be felt is how the team will replace him.

One of the few test matches he missed was the 2012 third test against New Zealand at the Basin Reserve.

The Proteas had to field a five-man pace attack and drop Imran Tahir to strike a balance. It looked insignificant then because Kallis was coming back, but it will be a harsh reality South Africa will have to face when Australia comes around in February.

At least the batting unit is in better shape than when Kallis was at his peak.

While there were times when it looked like he was playing for his average, it would be cruel to judge on that. It’s safe to say that South African cricket would have been well and truly stuffed if it were not for his presence.

While most careers start and end as meant, how Kallis started will not define him?–?the final figures will do so.

There may be one more World Cup to look forward to, but Kallis, branded as boring and unexciting, pretty much scaled the Everest of cricket.

The game will judge him as a player of the ages. This will be a fair reflection of him even though South Africa has never given him his just dues.

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