South Africa’s Jacques Kallis marked his impending retirement by scoring a century in the 166th and final Test of his career, becoming the third highest Test run scorer in the process.
On December 14, 1995 – when Jacques Kallis walked to the crease at Durban, little did the cricket fraternity know, here was a legend who would become one of the finest all-rounders, and possibly, South Africa`s greatest sportsman ever. But when the 38-year-old walked on to the same ground 18 years later, on day four of his final Test match, the crowd gave a rousing reception to the man who many believe is arguably the greatest ever all-rounder to have played the game.
It was a slow start by South Africa on day four of the Durban Test. Amid overcast conditions, Kallis and Steyn came to the crease, so did the crowd anticipating a good knock from their legendary sportsman. Kallis walked to the field unbeaten on 78, and he was 22 runs short of what would be a memorable knock in his last Test innings. Even if he scored 30-40 runs, it wouldn’t have done any damage to his image as a world class player. And honestly, I am sure a big knock wasn’t expected from the 38-year-old, who had witnessed a lean patch in 2013. But all these predictions were put to rest by a nervous but determined Kallis, who scored his 45th Test ton.
While Kallis was often compared with the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Brian Lara and Ricky Ponting, one shouldn’t forget that simultaneously, he was also compared with the mighty Garry Sobers. A single player’s comparison with such legends in itself is a testament of the all-rounder’s unmatchable class.
Kallis couldn’t have asked for a better Test for a farewell. It was a match where he completed 200 Test catches, surpassed Rahul Dravid to become the third highest run-scorer in Tests, and finally did something which the trio of Lara, Ponting and even Tendulkar couldn’t – signing off with a century in his final Test innings.
Sachin Tendulkar tweets : …… It’s been a joy to have played against you. Jacques you are a true Champion. Retired life isn’t so bad :-))