Masterful Kallis, Amla crush New Zealand

A masterful third-wicket partnership of 330 by Jacques Kallis and Hashim Amla helped South Africa take complete control on the third day of the first Castle Lager Test between South Africa and New Zealand at the Wanderers on Saturday. At stumps, New Zealand had 57 for three, and trailed South Africa by 473.

Kallis and Amla came together with the score on 20 for two at 2.14pm on Friday, and stayed together until 2.07pm on Saturday. During their partnership, which lasted six hours and 23 minutes, they passed a number of records—the highest South African third-wicket partnership at the Wanderers (139), the highest South African third-wicket partnership against New Zealand (183) and the highest third-wicket partnership by any team at the Wanderers (191).

The previous record was set by Ken Barrington and Ted Dexter of England in 1964/65.

Kallis passed 15 000 first-class runs and 9 000 Test runs, becoming only the eighth cricketer to achieve this milestone. He reached his 28th Test century, and is now just one short of the number scored by the great Sir Donald Bradman. He bypassed the Nervous Nineties with a four and a beautiful six over mid-wicket to reach his ton—his fourth in three consecutive Tests.

With his century under his belt, Kallis was at his imperious best. His innings was a joy to watch, and would serve as a useful manual for any cricket coach. His century came off 166 balls, included 14 fours and a six, and he needed just 52 deliveries for the next 50.

Excitement mounted around the ground as he appeared to be in sight of the double hundred that has eluded him, but with his score on 186, he edged a widish delivery from Jacob Oram and was neatly caught behind by Brendon McCullum.

Amla, in the meantime, had reached his second Test century off 211 balls. With Kallis in full flight, he was content to give his senior partner the strike and just hit ones and twos.

After Kallis had departed, Amla and Ashwell Prince kept the runs coming, but at a much slower rate. Amla passed his previous highest score—149, also against New Zealand, at Newlands in 2005/06—and he and Prince put on an undefeated 72 for the fourth wicket.

Amla was not out on 176 and Prince on 25 when Graeme Smith declared the innings closed on 422 for three 45 minutes after tea, leaving New Zealand the massive task of scoring 531 for victory.

In addition to the superb batting by the South Africans, New Zealand were struck by injury and illness problems. At one stage, there were four substitutes on the field, and the Black Caps’ dressing room looked like a casualty station. Michael Papps was ill, Stephen Fleming had a badly bruised arm after being hit by Dale Steyn in New Zealand’s first innings, strike bowler Shane Bond had a stomach strain and Jacob Oram had a hamstring strain.

New Zealand were in trouble almost immediately, losing three wickets in the first 10 overs. Craig Cumming was caught by Smith at first slip off Dale Steyn for seven, and Andre Nel took two wickets in three balls to send Fleming (caught Smith for 17) and Ross Taylor (caught Kallis for four) back to the pavilion, with New Zealand on 39 for three.

When stumps were drawn, Scott Styris was not out on 16 and McCullum had 11.—Sapa

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