/ 27 June 2007

Kallis leads Proteas to victory

South Africa captain Jacques Kallis’s unbeaten 91 saw his side to a four-wicket win over India at Stormont in Belfast on Tuesday in the first of three one-day internationals.

Kallis’s well-paced innings saw South Africa overhaul an India total of 242 for eight built around a third-wicket stand of 158 between Sachin Tendulkar (99) and Rahul Dravid (74).

South Africa needed four off the last over, bowled by part-time left-arm spinner Yuvraj Singh.

But 22-year-old all-rounder Vernon Philander (17 not out), in only his second match at this level, settled any lingering nerves by lofting Singh for four with three balls to spare as the Proteas finished on 245 for six.

”When we lost a few wickets it became my job to bat through the innings with a few youngsters down the order and I knew it was vital I stayed there to help them through,” said man-of-the-match Kallis.

”It’s easy talking to a guy and telling him how to do it, but to actually do it is the hard job,” added Kallis, who shared an unbroken seventh-wicket stand of 55 with Philander.

India captain Dravid was pleased by the way his side, several of whom were playing with the effects of a flu virus that had swept through the squad since Saturday’s nine-wicket win here against Ireland, had competed.

”A lot of guys today were still not 100% right. But they came out there, tried their best and really fought hard,” Dravid said. ”I thought Kallis’s innings was really good. We kept getting wickets at regular intervals, but his was the one we needed and we couldn’t get it.”

Tendulkar was left just 50 runs away from becoming the first batsman in history to score 15 000 one-day international runs. In sight of what would have been his 42nd hundred at this level, the 34-year-old was run out, going for an ill-judged second, by cover sweeper Morne van Wyk’s throw to wicketkeeper Mark Boucher.

Tendulkar and Dravid repaired the innings after Sourav Ganguly and Gautam Gambhir had fallen cheaply to fast-bowler Andre Nel, who led the attack with three wickets for 47 runs.

In reply, AB de Villiers and van Wyk shared a first-wicket stand of 56 as conditions became increasingly cold and overcast.

That ended when De Villiers, four balls after being dropped by Tendulkar at first slip off RP Singh, edged a square-drive off the back foot against the left-arm quick and was well caught by diving wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik.

Teenage leg-spinner Piyush Chawla struck with his 11th ball when van Wyk, who had made 44, played across the line to give Rohit Sharma a simple catch in the covers.

And the 18-year-old had his second wicket when dangerman Herschelle Gibbs, trying to dab the ball down on five, was bowled by a ball that didn’t turn as much as he expected.

The Proteas needed under a run-a-ball when Mark Boucher was lbw for 23 to left-arm quick Zaheer Khan despite the ball pitching outside leg stump. However, Kallis was still in, his fifty up in 65 balls with three fours.

But at the other end Andrew Hall drove Chawla to Dravid at extra-cover and South Africa, with 10 overs left, needed 51 to win with four wickets standing.

South Africa, despite Kallis saying on Monday they wanted to bring on a spin-bowler in a bid to remedy a long-standing weakness, had omitted off-break specialist Thandi Tshabalala from their side. Tshabalala’s place was taken by medium-pacer Charl Langeveldt, whose eight overs cost 59 runs.

Other changes to the Proteas team that beat Ireland by 42 runs here on Sunday saw Nel replace fellow quick Dale Steyn and Hall take over the all-rounder’s spot from Justin Kemp.

Tendulkar completed his fifty with a single off Kallis in 95 balls with six fours, Dravid getting there in 71 with three boundaries. India, though, lost six wickets for 61 runs in the last 10 overs.

Dravid played on to a Nel yorker, Tendulkar exited and Yuvraj Singh drove Hall straight to Kallis at mid-on.

The series continues at Stormont on Friday. — Sapa-AFP