By Nishad Pai Vaidya
Dec 28, 2013
It was Jacques Kallis‘s outing as his 78 not out stole the show on Day Three of the second Test against South Africa. The hosts finished the day at 299 for five and India are still 35 runs ahead. There was some rain in the evening session and that saw an early end of the day.
India started the day under pressure as South Africa resumed on 82 for no loss. Early in the day, Alviro Petersen got to his fifty by smashing the first ball bowled by Ravindra Jadeja. While, both batsmen tried to build on the stand that had exceeded a hundred, it was Jadeja who continued to trouble the batsmen.
On one occasion, Petersen tried to defend one off the front-foot, but the ball left him. Mahendra Singh Dhoni whipped the bails off in no time and appealed. The replays suggested that Petersen was on the line, although it wasn’t all that clear. The third umpire took different angles into consideration and decided in favour of Petersen. But, success wasn’t too far away for Jadeja.
Graeme Smith charged at Jadeja and the ball hit high on the bat and went in the air on the leg-side. Shikhar Dhawan ran back and took a magnificent diving catch to send Smith back to the pavillion. Soon after, Amla was bowled for three by Mohammed Shami as the ball shaped a little away from him and hit the off-stump. This is Amla’s homeground, but he hasn’t had a good innings here. On this occasion, he was rooted to the crease and it was quite unlike Amla as he is normally behind the line of deliveries well.
Then, Jadeja finally had Petersen as he edged one and was caught by Murali Vijay at first slip. It died on Vijay, but he took a good low catch. Petersen took Vijay’s call and left the ground.
Meanwhile, Jacques Kallis walked out to bat to a standing ovation. The Indian team formed a guard of honour and as Kallis strode out, he shook Dhoni’s hands and thanked him for the gesture. Soon, he was in business and South Africa needed another rescue-act in tandem with AB de Villiers. Both batsmen then stitched together an inspired partnership.
They were driving well and countered Jadeja with the passage of time. De Villiers in particular was on song and took the attack to India. He started piercing the gap through the off-side to Jadeja. But, Kallis dancing down the track and smashing Jadeja over his head was something the crowd cheered wholeheartedly.
By the time of lunch was taken, South Africa had recovered and moved to 181 for three.
It was de Villiers who set the stage alive after lunch with some fantastic batting. He quickly moved on to his fifty and was pouncing at every opportunity to score. He got closer to that mark with a cracking cover-drive of Shami. It was a shot that had authority written all over it and a testament to De Villier’s quality.
Kallis too got into his act with a cover-drive off Ishant Sharma for a four. Every run scored by him was cheered by the crowd as they wanted him to finish off on a high. And, after some time, Kallis looked in the zone to do well. He was moving well and getting his feet in the right position. There was only once scare though. As De Villiers dabbed Zaheer to the leg-side, Kallis ran towards the striker’s end. De Villiers hadn’t even started and had to put in the dive as the throw came in at the other end.
After getting to his half century, De Villiers continued his good work and was keeping the scoreboard ticking. However, Ravindra Jadeja was always in the mix as he continued to turn it away from the right-handers. Having persisted with the line around the off-stump, he finally had his reward when de Villiers edged one to Murali Vijay at first skip. De Villiers had to return for 74. It was the end of a 127-run partnership.
Meanwhile, Kallis got closer to his half century and achieved the mark by driving Jadeja through the off-side for a for a four. There was a huge round of applause as his teammates also stood up. He took his helmet off, wiped his forehead and raised his bat to acknowledge the crowd.
Jadeja continued to get purchase and Dhoni held the new ball back to persist with him. JP Duminy started well by essaying a few fluent strokes through the off-side to pick boundaries.
After tea, all the focus shifted to Kallis and he motored along without any fuss. Dhoni had the option of the new ball but delayed it as Jadeja was getting turn. Duminy was also getting into his stride, but the runs dried up as Jadeja maintained the pressure.
The umpires met and had a look at their light metres and chatted with Dhoni before proceeding. Dhoni persisted with Jadeja and it paid dividends as Duminy went back to one that turned into him and was trapped in front.
It was quite surprising that Dale Steyn walked out in place of Faf du Plessis and only a few overs later, the umpires took them off the ground as it started raining. Kallis led the players off the field as he was given a rousing reception.
After waiting for some time, the umpires called it stumps.
India 334 (Murali Vijay 97, Cheteshwar Pujara 70, Virat Kohli 46, Ajinya Rahane 51*; Dale Steyn 6 for 100, Morne Morkel 3 for 50) lead South Africa 299 for 5 (Graeme Smith 47, Alviro Petersen 62, AB de Villiers 74, Jacques Kallis 78*; Ravindra Jadeja 4 for 87) by 35 runs.
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