Prolific Kallis sets new series mark

By Tony Cozier
Sunday 18 January 2004 01:00
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The feeding frenzy of run-hungry batsmen that has encircled the vulnerable West Indies in Brian Lara's second tenure as captain continued on the second day of the Fourth, and final, Test yesterday.

Jacques Kallis followed the first-day hundreds of South Africa's openers, captain Graeme Smith and Herschelle Gibbs, with one of his own as South Africa built a total of 604 for 6 declared, their second in excess of 600 for the series to add to another of 561.

Kallis's chanceless, unbeaten 130 was South Africa's 12th hundred of the series, his 15th overall and his fourth in successive Tests as he added his name to an élite band of 10 batsmen to have achieved the feat.

It pushed his aggregate to 712, surpassing the Australian captain Ricky Ponting's 706 amassed over the past month against India as the record for a series of four Tests. But he had to give up one record as Gibbs carried his overnight 139 to 192, bettering Kallis's 177 in the Second Test as South Africa's highest score against West Indies, before he slapped leg-spinner Ramnaresh Sarwan's long-hop to point 15 minutes after lunch.

In spite of more disciplined West Indies bowling than on the opening day and in overcast weather that aided swing, Kallis was rarely bothered. He joined Gibbs 35 minutes before lunch when the left-hander Jacques Rudolph lost his middle stump to Fidel Edwards' inswinging yorker, and proceeded to consolidate the partnership of 301 between Smith and Gibbs with the solid assurance that has become the hallmark of his batting.

Only when he completed his hundred after four hours and 10 minutes from his 198th ball with his ninth four, a cover drive off Edwards, did he allow himself full freedom, scoring his last 31 from 16 balls.

Smith's declaration was designed to give his bowlers 13 overs at the weary West Indians, but they managed only five before the gloom that settled over Supersport Park for the entire day and obliged the use of the floodlights for all but the first quarter of an hour prompted umpires David Shepherd and Srinivasa Venkatargahavan to end play with West Indies seven without loss.

The only South African relieved at the early close was the fast bowler Andre Nel. He had already postponed his long-arranged wedding in nearby Benoni by two hours and, with less than an hour to get to the church on time, was whisked off by helicopter as soon as he left the field.

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