Kallis ton gives South Africa control
by Jinu Sabastian

Ground:Newlands, Cape Town
Scorecard:South Africa v England
Player:JH Kallis, MV Boucher, JM Anderson
Event:England in South Africa 2009/10

DateLine: 3rd January 2010


The day's play could have been easily claimed by a resurgent English side had no Kallis stood up and stalled the English bowling attack. The dependable all-rounder stood tall amidst ruins to pick up the pieces and post a competitive total at the end of day's play. The South African side was in tatters as first the English seamers and then a twin strike from Swann left them gasping. But Kallis found an able ally in Boucher with whom he first resurrected the innings and then found an unlikely ally in Steyn with whom he drove the South African innings to a position of strength.


Under an overcast sky with liberal sprinkling of grass cover on the pitch the coin spun in favour of Andrew Strauss who was beaming like a Cheshire cat and it was a no-brainer that he would elect to bowl first. The English side was unchanged while the South African side dropped veteran Makhaya Ntini while Friedel de Wet, who starred on debut at Centurion, was brought in.


The English opening bowlers, James Anderson and Graham Onions, did not disappoint their skipper as the duo put the hosts under immense pressure from the first ball. Ashwell Prince (0, 3 balls) survived an unplayable out-swinger from Anderson first up but a couple of balls later the southpaw was not so fortunate. It could have been much worse for the hosts had Graeme Swann been little more alert when Smith gave an easy offering at second slip but the catch was grounded. Hashim Amla never looked quite comfortable during his stay as he played some loose shots outside his off stump and was a perfect candidate for leg before. England's bad run with the review system continued when the side went for an ill-advised challenge. Broad was convinced that he had Amla caught behind but the on-field umpire negated his vociferous appeal and the bowler convinced his skipper to go for the review. The replays were inconclusive and the batsman survived. Amla (14, 56 balls, 2x4) helped his skipper add 45 in 16 overs to stabilize the innings before Onions trapped the elegant right-hander plumb before the stumps.


Smith and Kallis then ensured that South Africa did not lose their way till lunch but after lunch disaster struck. Smith (30, 50 balls, 3x4) who was making full use of the let-off was beginning to look dangerous when Anderson struck. The right arm swing bowler got one to curl beautifully away from the burly southpaw and on its way to the keeper the ball took the glove of the batsman and South Africa were three down for 52. Ab de Villiers joined Kallis at the crease and the two began to launch the fightback. The pair started off slowly but began to play some attractive shots when the opportunity presented itself before them. The English bowlers were able to keep the duo under wraps for a long period of time even forcing de Villiers to play a loose shot above the slips but the spunky right-hander tightened his play and carried his team's hopes forward.


The pair of Kallis and de Villiers added 76 runs in 20 overs when Swann once again threw spanner in their works. The off-spinner was being played well by the pair when Swann from round the wicket threw one up to de Villiers (36, 60 balls, 4x4) who chipped lamely to Strauss who placed himself perfectly at short midwicket. JP Duminy's horror run in the series continued as he was dismissed for a second first-baller in a row. Swann produced an unplayable off-spinner which spun viciously past Duminy's bat, taking the outside edge through to Prior as South Africa slipped to 127 for 5 in 41.2 overs.


Kallis was joined at the crease by the spunky Mark Boucher as the two put the innings back on track. The run-rate which was barely two and a half reached three as the two ticked the scorecard over with some sharp singles and occasional boundaries. Boucher was the enterprising of the two as he even took on Swann as he spanked the off-spinner for three consecutive boundaries in an over. Kallis got to his fifty in 104 balls while Boucher got to his fifty in 79 balls as the pair was taking the game away from England. With a hint of reverse swing Strauss entrusts Broad with the ball and the seamer does not disappoint as he trapped Boucher (51, 86 balls, 7x4) leg before. Boucher immediately challenged the decision but to no avail.


Dale Steyn was promoted up the order above Morne Morkel and Paul Harris and the bowler did not disappoint his team-management as he hung around gamely to help Kallis add unbeaten 63 in 16.4 overs for the seventh wicket. Kallis meanwhile registered his 33rd century of his career when he crunched a drive through covers of a gentle full toss from Pietersen. The light deteriorated considerably forcing the umpires to offer the light to the batsmen who accepted readily.