| Jacques Kallis on way to his century on Wednesday. (AP)
Durban: Jacques Kallis scored his first limited overs century in two years to steer South Africa to a respectable total in the second one-day International against India in Durban on Wednesday.
Kallis’ chanceless 119 not out anchored South Africa’s 248 for eight, which they scored after winning the toss and choosing to bat. Number three batsman Kallis last scored a one-day century on August 31, 2004, when he made 101 against Sri Lanka in Colombo.
South Africa won by 157 runs — their biggest win over India — after skittling the tourists for 91 in 29.1 overs. Fast bowler Andre Nel bowled with pace and aggression to take a career-best 4/13 from eight overs, while Jacques Kallis took 3/3 from 4.1. Sachin Tendulkar top-scored with 35.
Kallis faced 160 balls and hit 15 fours in his innings, which was his first century in 38 one-day Internationals and the first of his career against India.
Kallis came to the crease in the 10th over after left-arm fast bowler Zaheer Khan had reduced South Africa to 47 for two by trapping Graeme Smith and Loots Bosman leg-before for scores of one and 22 respectively.
Fast bowler Munaf Patel had Herschelle Gibbs caught behind by wicketkeeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni before AB de Villiers helped Kallis steady the innings with a stand of 87 for the fourth wicket.
India left out injured opener Virender Sehwag and Irfan Pathan from their line-up, bringing in Wasim Jaffer and Zaheer in their place. Incidentally, it was Jaffer’s maiden ODI appearance.
The home team made its usual stutter at the start of the innings with three wickets gone for 63 by the 16th over before its middle order did the expected recovery.
India chose the treacherous option of going into the game with four frontline bowlers on a wicket which everyone believed would have a fair lift for the faster men.
The bowlers stuck to their task gamely, none better than old warhorse Zaheer Khan who marked his return to international cricket with two early wickets.
Sachin Tendulkar tested his shoulder productively, bowling his nine overs for only 33 runs.
Sachin, incidentally, surged ahead of Sanath Jayasuriya in the list of most capped ODI players on Wednesday. The Indian earned his 371st one-day cap to move past the Sri Lankan opening batsman by a game. The duo is in a close fight with Pakistani skipper Inzamam-ul Haq who has played in 367 matches.
Zaheer struck off only his second delivery when Smith (1) played the wrong line to be leg-before wicket and later Bosman (22) fell in similar manner in trying to work the ball on to the on-side.
Gibbs in the middle overs was out of sorts in making two runs from 14 balls before chasing a Patel outswinger into the hands of the wicketkeeper.
Kallis was completely unaffected by the turbulence at the other end and went about stroking the ball in the cover region with impunity and authority.
His square and cover drives off the medium-pacers were breathtaking and when Ajit Agarkar pitched it short, he hooked with no less command to convey his wide range of strokes.
Kallis reached his half-century from 71 balls with 10 fours and finally found an able support at the other end in De Villiers whose 41 from 47 balls with three fours and one six gave the innings the right impetus.
The two put on 87 runs for the fourth wicket before the part-time left-arm spin of Mongia ejected De Villiers from the middle, an attempted reverse sweep causing him to be stumped.
Wicketkeeper Mark Boucher then played a little cameo of 23 runs from 21 balls before hoisting Patel to the sweeper in covers in the 42nd over. Kallis completed his century in the 44th over by driving Mongia down the ground for a single, his innings taking him 143 balls and including 13 fours.