Jacques Kallis hit a crucial 161 for South Africa on the second day of the third and final Test against India at Newlands on Monday - but it came at a high price.
Kallis batted in pain for much of his innings and it was revealed afterwards that he will be out of action for about two weeks with a bruised rib and a strained muscle in his right side.
It meant Kallis was unable to take the field - and be South Africa’s fifth bowler - as India advanced to 142 for two in reply to a Kallis-inspired 362. But Kallis will be able to bat in the second innings if needed.
Gautam Gambhir (65 not out) and Sachin Tendulkar (49 not out) ground out the first century partnership of the match as India overcame the loss of two early wickets. They put on an unbeaten 114.
The stand enabled India to stay in with a chance of winning a series in South Africa for the first time. The sides came to Newlands locked at one-all.
Kallis, though, thought that South Africa still had a slight edge.
“Tomorrow morning is going to be very important. Hopefully we can pick up three early wickets. We’re still a little bit ahead, having runs on the board, but that can change very quickly if we don’t bowl well tomorrow.”
Shanthakumaran Sreesanth, who took five for 114 and plunged South Africa into deep trouble at 283 for eight before Kallis marshalled the tail, thought India had the opportunity to take control.
“We’ve got enough good batsmen to put good scores on the board and put pressure on the South Africans on the fourth day if we can get a good lead,” said Sreesanth.
Kallis was the mainstay of the South African innings, making 161 before he was last man out. Kallis batted superbly with tailenders Paul Harris and Lonwabo Tsotsobe, taking his score from 100 to 161 while the last two wickets added 79 runs.
It was the South African batting star’s 39th Test century, moving him into joint second place on the all-time Test centurions list alongside Ricky Ponting of Australia and behind only India’s Sachin Tendulkar, who has made 50 hundreds.
It was also the highest of seven Test centuries by Kallis at Newlands, his home ground.
“The milestones will probably mean more when I reach the end of my career,” he said. “Right now, there is still so much more I want to achieve in the game.”
With just four bowlers, South Africa were made to toil under a hot sun as Gambhir and Tendulkar dug in. Hot weather is predicted for Tuesday when the pitch, which still offered the bowlers some assistance off the seam, should be at its best for batting.
Virender Sehwag again had a disappointing first innings after being out for nought in the first Test in Centurion and 25 in the second match in Durban.
He made 13 before a typically flat-footed drive against Steyn spooned to mid-off where South African captain Graeme Smith made a good catch, diving forward.
Rahul Dravid was out for five in unusual circumstances when Gambhir was dropped on 10 by Alviro Petersen at gully off Tsotsobe. The batsmen went through for a run but second slip AB de Villiers picked up the ball and threw down the stumps with Dravid just short of his ground.
Gambhir was dropped off Tsotsobe when De Villiers spilled a high chance at second slip when the batsman was on 60. He played several false shots but showed good composure in a 159-ball innings which included eight fours.
Tendulkar edged Tsotsobe dangerously close to Ashwell Prince at third slip when he had eight but went on to play a solid, cautious innings, facing 106 balls before the close.
Follow Emirates 24|7 on Google News.