Cape Town: Faced with the daunting task of holding on the team from falling apart cheaply, Jacques Kallis told the world why he was the reigning king at Cape Town with his 40th Test century.
Standing tall as the only survivor of the day (109*), his effort took the South African total to 341 runs all out at stumps on Day 4 of the final Test of the three match rubber.
The home team had come back strongly in the second session, with the partnership between Kallis and Boucher taking the honours as the duo went on for a centurion stand.
Kallis stood like a rock, batting in pain because of a bruised rib and a side strain, to help his team post a competitive total for the Indians to chase.
The post-lunch session saw Ishant Sharma coming into action as he claimed the wicket of Ashwell Prince (21). The fall of the sixth wicket at a score of 130 exposed the South African tail in the second session of play, giving India a chance to snuff out the home team before a big total could be amassed.
However, the experienced duo of Kallis and Boucher kept the scorecard ticking without the need of unnecessary risks.
Boucher had hit his 34th Test fifty to consolidate on the previous session’s hard work, averting the danger of being wrapped-up early.
Sachin Tendulkar turned out to be the man with the golden arm, spinning Boucher (55) out of contention with a low lying delivery that got him plumb in front of the wicket.
Before this, South Africa were reeling at 121/5 at lunch on the fourth day as the Indian bowlers wrapped-up a dominating first session to see the back of the top and middle order to the pavilion.
Harbhajan Singh was the star of the morning with his twin strike, taking his innings tally to four wickets. He was given apt support from Zaheer who took a wicket and Sreesanth’s tight spells.
Zaheer gave the Cape Town audience a beautiful sight as stumps were on ground, bringing an end to AB de Villiers’ innings a few overs prior to lunch. The fall of the fifth wicket sent tremors down the home team’s spine.
Prior to this, the ‘Turbunator’ had brought joy into the Indian camp with the wicket of Alviro Peterson (22) on his fifth delivery of the morning, watching the danger man’s back early-on before he could set his eye in.
Harbhajan then followed it up with another strike in his second over, getting the in-form Hashim Amla out at a score of just two runs, bringing in fresh feet to the crease with the morning conditions favouring Indian bowlers.
He finally spun back into action in the final session, claiming his fifth victim of the innings in the form of Dale Steyn (32). Soon after, he got Morne Morkel (28) and Lonwabo Tsotsobe (8) wrap-up the home team’s innings on the last ball of the day. His seven wicket haul was the only thing to write home for an Indian fan.
The centurion partnership stand between Kallis and Boucher, and the small cameo by Dale Steyn and the tail gave the Proteas an upper hand going into the final day of the Test on a pitch that would spell headache for the Indian batsmen.