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Jacques and De Villiers strengthen SA position

- Rain curtails day iii too; Jadeja picks up 4 wickets
Mahendra Singh Dhoni congratulates Jacques Kallis on his arrival at the crease, on the third day of his final Test, in Durban, on Saturday. The reserves (from near the boundary line), the Indian players and the on-field umpires gave the South African great a guard of honour

Durban: Jacques Kallis showed his class with a gutsy unbeaten 78 in his farewell Test, as South Africa gained a slight upper hand in the series-deciding second Test against India here on Saturday.

The 38-year-old Kallis seemed on course for his 45th Test century, as the hosts reached 299 for five before it started pouring at Kingsmead, as on the second day.

Keeping Kallis company was nightwatchman Dale Steyn, with the hosts needing another 36 runs to overhaul India’s first innings total of 334.

While the seasoned Kallis anchored the innings facing 224 balls, AB de Villiers (74), Alviro Petersen (62) and Graeme Smith (47) were the other notable contributors for the Proteas.

If Smith and Petersen’s opening stand of 103 laid the foundation of the South African innings, it was De Villiers and Kallis, who added 127 runs for the fourth wicket to keep the momentum going.

De Villiers again played a free-flowing innings, hitting nine boundaries in his 117-ball knock — one less than Kallis. For India, left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja vindicated his captain’s selection with figures of four for 87, which included the scalps of Peterson, Smith and De Villiers.

Coming in at the fall of Amla’s wicket, Kallis was given a guard of honour by the Indian cricketers. Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni shook hands with the legendary all-rounder, honouring the moment.

However, Kallis was a picture of concentration during his knock. It took him 25 deliveries to hit the first of his 10 boundaries of a Jadeja delivery. It was a lofted hit over mid-off and he repeated the shot of the very next ball.

A sweep off Rohit Sharma, a couple of back-to-back cover drives off Zaheer Khan —Kallis was ready to leave on a high.

Apart from Jadeja, pacer Mohammed Shami (1/62) was the only other bowler who picked up a wicket in the South African innings so far.

Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma toiled hard, but failed to provide any breakthroughs. Rohit Sharma was deployed as well. Skipper MS Dhoni perhaps missed a second spinner on this dry pitch.

Kallis and Duminy added 58 runs for the fifth wicket as Dhoni delayed taking the second new ball. The skipper persisted with Jadeja and even brought on Rohit, and the break-through finally came. Duminy was trapped leg before by Jadeja, in the 104th over, after making 28 runs off 82 balls, with four fours.

The morning session turned out to be a mixed one as South Africa scored 99 runs in that session but also lost three wickets.

Jadeja provided the breakthrough when Smith gave the spinner charge, but his mistimed lifted shot was spectacularly caught by Shikhar Dhawan running back from his mid-wicket position.