The South African all-rounder Jacques Kallis is currently a man on a mission. The aim is to put a smile on the face of his father while he fights for his life in Cape Town. Kallis hopes that by scoring runs on South Africa's tour of England he will ease the suffering of his father, Henry, who has been diagnosed with lung cancer.
There are more pleasant reasons to be motivated but this one seems to be working for the world's leading all-rounder. Yesterday Kallis scored a career-best 125 not out, a day after scoring 107 against England at the Oval. It is an achievement managed by two other batsmen in one-day cricket, the Australian Dean Jones in 1987 and England's Nick Knight in 1996.
"This has been a very special weekend for me," said Kallis. "I wasn't 100 per cent sure I was going to come on tour but I know that my dad back home would want nothing more than me to be successful on a cricket field. Hopefully this will make him proud, give him an extra boost and other thoughts to fight with."
His knock was the principle reason for South Africa's 46 run victory. Zimbabwe fought hard to keep up with their African neighbours, and again proved they will be no pushover in this triangular series. On this occasion, however, they were not quite strong enough and honours went to those from south of the Limpopo river.
This century was the 10th of Kallis's one-day career. The 27 year-old could have been out on four occasions before he passed three figures but Zimbabwe fluffed run-out chances on 16, 35 and 60, and Douglas Hondo dropped a relatively straightforward caught and bowled when he was on 21. Against batsmen of Kallis's class opponents cannot afford to waste one chance. Ultimately they cost them the match.
Of the four countries to have played one-day cricket in England this summer it is only England who appear to go out of their way to make the most of the fielding restrictions in the first 15 overs of each game. South Africa, like Zimbabwe and Pakistan attempt to build a solid platform at the top of the innings and make up for any shortcomings with an all-out assault in the last 10-15 overs.
These tactics suit Kallis's style and it was only towards the end of his 147-ball stay that he looked for the big shots. This stroke-play did not go down well with the Zimbabwe fast bowler Andy Blignaut who was forced out of the attack after bowling a second unintentional beamer at Kallis. Such uncontrolled bowling did not appear to bother Kallis who carted the second high full toss over deep square leg for six.
Following a quiet start, in which Herschelle Gibbs and the South African captain Graeme Smith fell cheaply for the second day in a row, Kallis's partnership with Andrew Hall changed the course of the innings. Coming together in the 25th over after Jacques Rudolph - who again looked a class act during his short stay in the middle - sliced a cut at the left arm spin of Ray Price to short third man, it was Hall who grabbed the initiative.
After smashing 23 off eight balls against England, Hall's instructions from the dressing-room would have been clear - get on with it. The stocky right-hander duly dominated the 91-run partnership with Kallis. Hall also had two lucky escapes during his 42-ball fifty. Only when Hall was dismissed did Kallis take charge in a frantic final 10 overs which yielded 96 runs.
Zimbabwe batted well and gave themselves a chance of chasing down the 273 they required. Travis Friend made an attractive 82 off 91 balls but when he was bowled by Hall they needed more than eight an over. It proved too much.Reuse content