Kallis' fall tilts the balance

West Indies 347 - South Africa 182-3
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The Independent Online

The wicket of Jacques Kallis in the last over of the second day tilted the fine balance of the Second Test marginally back towards the West Indies yesterday.

The wicket of Jacques Kallis in the last over of the second day tilted the fine balance of the Second Test marginally back towards the West Indies yesterday.

Kallis, First Test century-maker and rated the No 1 Test batsman by the International Cricket Council, was lbw for 39 to medium-pacer Dwayne Bravo's late inswing, ending a third-wicket partnership of 95 with captain Graeme Smith.

Kallis had survived a low slip chance off the off-spinner Chris Gayle six runs earlier and would also have been run out by yards on 27 had Brian Lara's throw to the bowler's stumps not missed.

Smith, battling doggedly on a pitch of uneven bounce which bodes ill for the team batting last, was unbeaten with a chanceless 90 with South Africa 165 behind the West Indies first innings.

In the first session, South Africa denied Lara the satisfaction of crowning an extraordinary innings with his eighth Test double hundred but, after Smith and AB de Villiers built a solid start of 70, they were made to fight hard for runs against tight bowling.

The West Indies ended South Africa's defiant opening stand when De Villiers fell for 33 to a loose stroke that presented a low catch to short extra-cover off Reon King. He was soon followed by the left-hander Jacques Rudolph to a catch at the wicket off Bravo but Smith and Kallis then held firm for the next two and three quarter hours.

Just as it seemed they would return to continue their resistance on the third day, the bustling Bravo won an lbw decision from umpire Aleem Dar.

Lara had been last man out an hour and a half into the day after carrying his overnight 159 to 196, undone by an exceptional delivery from Andre Nel that clipped the off bail.

Lara carried the West Indies to within three runs of the 350 that he had flagged overnight as a comfortable first innings total on a pitch encouraging the bowlers and on which only he was at ease before he got a ball even he couldn't keep out. It was one of no more than a half-dozen of the 286 balls he faced that genuinely deceived him.

Armed with the second new ball, taken in the day's first over, Nel and Makhaya Ntini needed 17.4 overs to finish off the West Indies innings, which had resumed at 281 for 6.

The average second innings total on a ground which has produced 11 outright results in its last 12 Tests is 258, so South Africa faced a stern test.

When the home team had declined to 225 for 6, losing three wickets for 22 after tea on the first afternoon, it seemed Lara's effort would count for nothing, but he found a steady partner in Courtney Browne.

Their association was worth 74 before Ntini claimed his fifth wicket with a short-leg catch from Browne's inside edge and thigh pad. Fast bowler Daren Powell thumped three hearty boundaries in his 15 before Ntini hit his off stump with one that kept low. Nel rounded off the innings by removing Pedro Collins lbw and producing his magic delivery to Lara.

Overall, Lara was in for seven hours, 20 minutes and stroked 25 boundaries in his highest Test score on his home ground.