Kallis’ ton puts South Africa in command against India (Roundup)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

CAPE TOWN - Braving a side strain, Jacques Kallis struck a fine unbeaten 109 to put South Africa in a commanding position at the close of fourth day’s play in the third and final Test match at the Newlands Stadium here Wednesday. South Africa were 341 all out, setting a victory target of 340 runs for India.

Kallis’s century with Mark Boucher’s 55 took South Africa to 341 from a precarious 130 for six. South Africa made 362 in the first innings and in reply India made 364.

Harbhajan Singh, who took up seven for 120, raised hopes for India’s historic Test series win by picking up two wickets in the first session that saw South Africa scoring just 69 runs for three wickets.

But Kallis and Boucher dampened India’s spirit with their gutsy 103-run stand for the seventh wicket on a track that offered variable bounce. The partnership that frustrated the Indians was finally broken by Sachin Tendulkar, whose long-hop kept low and trapped Boucher leg before the wicket.

The cracking pitch troubled other South African batsmen as well, but Kallis was at ease and waged a valiant fight despite the terrible pain. The 35-year-old, who hit eight fours in his 240-ball knock, became the first ever South African to score two hundreds in a home Test match. Kallis also moved ahead of Australian captain Ricky Ponting into second on the all-time list of Test century scorers with his 40th 100.

Kallis batted extremely well with the tail and added 54 runs for the eighth wicket with Dale Steyn (32) and 46 runs with Morne Morkel (28) to take the Proteas to an imposing total.

Earlier, Harbhajan who picked up two wickets Tuesday, kept the batsmen guessing by getting the ball to turn from the rough. Alviro Petersen went back to the pavilion without adding anything to his overnight score of 22 with Harbhajan trapping him leg before.

The off-spinner was again on target in his next over and rattled the stumps of Hashim Amla (2). Amla tried to sweep Harbhajan, but the ball hit his pads and bounced to hit his middle stump — South Africa were reduced to 64 for four.

Kallis kept the scoreboard moving and reverse-swept Harbhajan for two fours. With AB De Villiers (13), Kallis added 34 runs for the fifth wicket. Zaheer struck with an in-swinger to remove De Villiers.

The only wicket to fall in the post-lunch session was that of Ashwell Prince (22) with Ishant Sharma setting him up. Sharma enticed him to drive through the extra cover and bowled a similar length in the next delivery, forcing the left-handed batsman to slap at it and Sreesanth took a good low catch at the point.

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