Kallis steers SA to victory

An unbeaten 91 from Jacques Kallis saw South Africa to a tight last over victory against India.

Captain also in this, the first match of the three game rubber, Kallis came in following AB De Villiers’ dismissal for 24, ending a 56 run opening stand with Morne Van Wyk. He added 43 with Van Wyk, before India’s spin duo, Ramesh Powar and Piyush Chawla gave them the upper hand. They took three wickets between them in five overs, using flight effectively and getting a decent amount of turn.

Kallis kept his head, and played in the efficient manner we’ve come to know. No rash strokes to be seen, he clipped singles and punished the bad ball. A couple more wickets fell; those of Mark Boucher and Andrew Hall, but Kallis still had competent support from Vernon Philander, and always looked to have complete control of the situation.

Despite an excellent showing from their two spinners, the rest of India’s bowling was fairly mediocre. The pace bowlers struggled and were put away by Van Wyk at the top of the order, while their lack of a strong fifth bowler hurt them, Ganguly and Yuvraj Singh combined to bowl just over ten overs at more than a run a ball.

India’s batting performance earlier in the day was led by Sachin Tendulkar. On a difficult pitch, with a firing seam attack, he fell one short of a century. Rahul Dravid came in to partner him fairly early on; Sourav Ganguly and Gautam Gambhir both edged Andre Nel to the cordon without making much of an impact.

With their two best batsmen at the crease, India marched on to 194-2. The two shared a partnership of 158, nudging the ball around, using their vast experience to keep the scoreboard ticking over. Both expertly guided the ball away behind square when the South Africans gave them the opportunity. They didn’t score particularly fast, but they didn’t need to, they did their job of setting up India for a good total.

They weren’t able to stick around though, to ensure it was a good total. Dravid fell to an excellent yorker from Andre Nel, while Tendulkar was run out for 99, pushing for the second run to bring up his century. Not yet in and facing an excellent death bowler in Andrew Hall, the lower order was unable to up the tempo as much as they would have liked, and failed to reach 250.

India 242-8
Sachin Tendulkar 99, Rahul Dravid 74
Andrew Hall 3-47, Jacques Kallis 2-20, Andre Nel 2-40

South Africa 244-6
Jacques Kallis 91*, Morne Van Wyk 44
Piyush Chawla 3-47

South Africa win by four wickets

Cricket Web Man of the Match: Jacques Kallis

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