Kallis’ ten best Test matches

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As Jacques Kallis plays out his final Test against India in Durban, Stuart Hess looks back at his 10 most influential matches. Photo by: Ryan Pierse

As Jacques Kallis plays out his final Test against India in Durban, Stuart Hess looks back at his 10 most influential matches.


SA vs Australia, Perth, December 17-21, 2008 (63 and 57, 0/65 and 3/24, 2 catches)

Two half-centuries, three wickets and two catches. Had this feat been performed by Ian Botham or Andrew Flintoff, the English would have demanded a statue of one of them outside the Waca. Kallis’s second innings on the penultimate evening that Test, ripped the initiative away from the Australians. Graeme Smith, AB De Villiers and JP Duminy’s contributions are all note-worthy, but it was Kallis, pounding fours and sixes that Saturday evening and dropping the required number of runs to less than 200, that created the belief that chasing 414 was possible.

SA vs India, Cape Town, January 2-6 2011 (161 and 109*)

In both innings’ of this final Test of the series, Kallis was tasked with holding the South African batting effort together. South Africa made 362 in the first innings, with Amla’s 59 the next highest score. For most of that innings he batted with badly damaged ribs and every time he tried to pull or hook he doubled over in pain. In the second innings, he stood virtually alone as South Africa slumped to 130/6, and only as he and Mark Boucher put on 103 for the seventh wicket, when the match turned towards the hosts’ favour.

SA vs England, Durban,

December 26-30 2004 (162 and 10, 0/10 and 1/57)

South Africa made 332 in their first innings, with Kallis’s 162 by some distance the standout knock in the innings. That was the best attack England have had in years: less than a year later Flintoff, Matthew Hoggard, Steve Harmison and Simon Jones would decimate Australia. This was Kallis at his obdurate best, more than six hours of superb concentration, and a hundred he regards as one of his finest knocks.

SA vs West Indies, Cape Town, January 2-6, 1999 (110 and 88*, 2/34 and 5/90, 1 catch)

“This will long be remembered as Jacques Kallis’s match,” wrote Wisden. He became just the eighth player in history to score a century, a 50 and take five wickets in the same match. If the rest of the cricket world weren’t sold on him as a great before this, they were once this match was done. Among the outstanding feats in the history of South African sport.

SA vs India, Centurion, December 16-20, 2010 (201*, 1/20 and 1/56, 2 catches)

The monkey was finally removed from his back in this match. It’s a quite a thing for a career to be known for not having included a double century especially when considering all the feats he’d achieved, not just with the bat but with other aspects of the game. It wasn’t just the fact that he made 200, it’s how it was done – again the team’s needs were a priority. South Africa were on top, Kallis’s innings ensured they dominated the game. Has there ever been a louder or more sustained cheer for an individual feat on a cricket field in this country?

SA vs Australia, Melbourne,

26-30, 1997 (15 and 101)

It had taken nine innings and seven Tests for Kallis to register his first Test century, but what an important and valued knock this was. It drove the Australians to the point of despair – “Is this bloke f...king deaf,” Michael Kasprowicz is alleged to have angrily inquired as yet another solid forward defensive was utilised. Kallis batted for just under six hours, absorbing everything the grizzled Australians could throw at him to save the first Test of that series.

SA vs Australia, Adelaide, November 22-26, 2012 (58 and 46, 2/19, 1 catch)

What will forever be recalled as the great Faf Du Plessis “block-a-thon” featured some crucial contributions from the Kallis, who had cried off with a pulled hamstring having bowled just 3.3 overs – during which time he floored Ponting with one of the balls of the season. His first-innings contribution came while batting at No 9 and in the second he batted for two-and- half-hours, barely able to run, to provide some assistance to Du Plessis – nursing him through the 90s – in one of South African cricket’s great escapes.

SA vs England, Leeds, August 21-25, 2003 (6 and 41, 3/38 and 6/54, 1 catch)

A Test in which he dominated with ball more than the bat, but was no less influential. That second innings effort, when he got the ball swinging, befuddled the English, who were swamped by 191 runs.

SA vs India, Mumbai, February 24-26, 2000 (5 and 36*, 3/30 and 0/21)

A Test to look beyond the numbers – Boucher regards his second innings in this Test as one of his best and he “only” made 27 not out. It had to do with the circumstances. The pitch was far from what the South Africans were generally accustomed, but bowling full and straight Kallis got first innings wickets, and then as South Africa chased history, he stood for over three hours to make those 36 runs, allowing Boucher the freedom to stroke the ball around and finish off the match.

SA vs Pakistan, Karachi, October 1-5, 2007 (155 and 100*, 1/21 and 0/4, 2 catches)

Less glamorous than the other occasion he managed centuries in each innings of a Test, but no less important as South Africa claimed a 160-run victory that eventually saw them claim a short series 1-0. He backed up this match with another century in the next game in Lahore. – Cape Times

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