South Africa beats India, takes series 1-0
DURBAN, South Africa (AP) — South Africa won retiring allrounder Jacques Kallis’ last test Monday to take the series against India with a 10-wicket victory on the final day at Kingsmead.
South African openers Alviro Petersen and Graeme Smith comfortably chased down their victory target of 58 soon after tea to claim the short two-game contest between test cricket’s top two teams 1-0.
Smith ended the game by hammering a six and a four off successive deliveries and the South African captain turned and raised his arms to the dressing room where Kallis was sitting.
“I think all of us, including Jakes (Kallis), always wanted to win it for him,” Smith said.
The 38-year-old Kallis was then carried across the field on the shoulders of teammates holding a South African flag for a lap of honor around the same ground in Durban where he made his debut as a 20-year-old prodigy in 1995.
Smiling, he was handed a beer by a fan — and drank most of it — at one corner of the ground.
Kallis surprised many by announcing on Christmas Day that he would retire following one last test. He finished with 13,289 test runs and 292 wickets in his 18-year career on South Africa’s team to go down as one of cricket’s great batsmen and possibly its greatest ever allrounder.
“That first test I played here I remember being a nervous little kid,” Kallis said, adding not in his “wildest dreams” did he think he would be so successful. “To play 166 test matches, I don’t think anyone ever dreams of that. I’m just thankful for every game I’ve played. I always gave whatever I had.”
Kallis also finished with one last hundred.
He made an emotional farewell 115 on Sunday — the 45th century of his test career to move to third in the all-time run-scorers list — and top-ranked South Africa powered toward its victory over No. 2 India early on the final day after fast bowler Dale Steyn struck off the first ball of the morning. The Proteas took eight Indian second-innings wickets for 155 in a session-and-a-half.
Steyn and fellow quick Vernon Philander finished with three wickets each and left-arm spinner Robin Peterson had 4-74 as South Africa seized the win the team badly wanted to mark Kallis’ last appearance.
Only Ajinkya Rahane resisted among India’s batsmen on the last day to make a gritty 96 before falling four short of a maiden test century, and he was congratulated for his impressive fighting effort by many of South Africa’s fielders, including Kallis. Rahane also made an unbeaten half-century in the first innings.
“The ingredients are there,” captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said of his India team, which came close to winning the first test in Johannesburg and started strongly in Durban. “Maybe in this series we didn’t cook the food well, but we’ve got all the ingredients.”
After Kallis anchored South Africa’s first-innings score of 500 on the fourth day alongside a valuable 74 from AB de Villiers, South Africa’s fast bowlers set up the success on the final day of a test which lost a lot of time to weather delays.
Steyn removed Virat Kohli off the first ball of the day and had Cheteshwar Pujara (32) in his second over on the way to his 3-47 and nine wickets in the test. South Africa’s bowling spearhead also reached 350 test wickets.
Recalled left-arm slow bowler Peterson took four in the innings and Philander grabbed his third when he bowled Rahane right at the end of India’s second-innings 223. The youngster hit 11 fours and two sixes and had at times taken the attack to South Africa’s bowlers.
At the start of the day, Steyn struck straight away and had Kohli — to a questionable decision by umpire Rod Tucker — and bowled Pujara off a superb delivery in the third over as India’s two key batsmen departed early and the tourists never recovered. Steyn’s first delivery appeared to come off Kohli’s upper arm but he was given out caught behind by wicketkeeper De Villiers.
Philander dismissed Rohit Sharma lbw for 25 and Peterson sent Dhoni (15), Ravindra Jadeja (8) and Zaheer Khan (3) back for his three wickets on the last day.
Rahane hit Philander for a four and then a square cut for six over the point boundary in the same over to move toward his first century before he was bowled by a fuller one to end India’s second innings with a slim 57-run lead.
South Africa closed out victory with Smith unbeaten on 27 and Petersen 31 not out, extending the No. 1 team’s unbeaten run to 14 test series.
“We don’t have a Jacques Kallis,” Dhoni said after being questioned over his team makeup. “There’s no point sulking about it.”
Follow Gerald Imray at www.twitter.com/GeraldImrayAP