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Tons from Kallis, Petersen propel South Africa to massive score in Newlands

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jacques_kallis_tonThe South African batting department which faced much flak for the Durban debacle came back with a bang to tame the visiting Lankans on Day 1 of the third and final test at Cape Town. Tillakaratne Dilshan's decision to field first backfired as the South Africans closed the day on top at 347-3.  The spotlight of the day was the attacking 206 run partnership between Alviro Petersen and Jacques Kallis. South Africa's batting colossus, Kallis (159*) made his 150th Test a memorable one by scoring a master-class century, his effort was aided by 21 fours and a maximum. Alviro Petersen(109), who was back into the South African line up after a year also cracked a century to enable the hosts to gain an upper-hand in the game. The Lankan bowlers lacked patience and sprayed the ball around to make run-making easier for Graeme Smith's men. It was undoubtedly a forgettable day for the feeble Sri Lankan bowling attack with only Dhammika Prasad bowling well in patches to pick up 2 wickets.

With the Sunfoil Test series tantalizingly poised on a knife edge at one all, the Sri Lankans locked horns with the hosts South Africa in the series deciding final test at Cape Town under cloudy skies. The toss of the coin went Tillakaratne Dilshan's way and the Lankan lions took the daring move to bowl first on a good batting track with a little bit of assistance for the seamers early on.

Both teams made a couple of changes. The guests replaced Dilhara Fernando, who injured his knee, with Dhammika Prasad. The other change came at the top of the order, where the woefully out of form Tharanga Paranavitana made way for fellow left hand opener Lahiru Thirumane. Marchant de Lange, despite making a dream debut where he took 7 wickets in the first innings, had to sit out because Vernon Philander, who missed the Durban test, was recalled to the South African playing eleven. Just as skipper Graeme Smith indicated before the game, Ashwell Prince was dropped to accommodate Alviro Petersen, who has accumulated a mountain of runs this season for his domestic side, the Highveld Lions. The 31 year old Alviro Petersen opened the batting in the company of Smith while Jacques Rudolph was bumped down the order to the number 6 spot.

Chanaka Welegedara and Thisara Perera started off proceedings for Sri Lanka in front of a sell-out crowd at the picturesque Newlands stadium. Graeme Smith(16) did not take much time to get his bearings right and hit 3 fours off Welegedara in the 3rd over of the day. Shortly after though the southpaw inside-edged an innocuous delivery off first change bowler, Dhamikka Prasad onto the stumps to gift the visitors their first wicket. There was a little bit of away seam movement for Prasad, who was introduced into the attack as early as the 5th over. The new batsman, Hashim Amla (16) looked good during his short stay before he fell lbw to Prasad as South Africa slumped to 56-2.

Alviro Petersen, the comeback man, translated his domestic form onto the biggest stage and vindicated the selectors decision to recall him. The right hander was very alert between the wickets and scored runs at a brisk clip. Petersen was positive from the outset and raked in the first six of the match in the 11th over with a powerful pull shot. Petersen pieced together a telling partnership with the senior pro, Jacques Kallis to power the hosts to 135-2 at the stroke of lunch.

Dilshan and his boys mapped out a clear strategy to pepper Kallis with a series of short balls. But, the veteran shrugged off the initial period of mild discomfort to punish the erring Sri Lankan bowlers. Kallis, who was playing his 150th Test, unfurled poetic, crisp drives and attacking pull shots to blow away the ill-disciplined Lankan attack, scoring at better than a run-a-ball. Meanwhile, the opener reached his fifty with the help of back to back boundaries off Perera in the 23rd over.The duo stamped their authority over Sri Lanka and scored at 5 an over with ease in the morning session.

Kallis got to his 9th fifty at his home ground off just 42 balls in the 2nd over after the lunch break. Sri Lanka were unable to plug the flow of runs and the partnership grew ominous. The uncharacteristically aggressive Kallis brought up the 100 of the partnership in fine style with another sumptuous drive down the ground.

Durban Test hero Rangana Herath also failed to trouble the awesome twosome. Alviro Petersen used his feet productively against the left arm spinner. The touring party gifted easy runs which the Proteas accepted gleefully and prospered. During the process, Kallis converted his fifty into a breathtaking century. Kallis' lovely straight drive off Angelo Mathews in the 50th over was a sight to behold. Kallis' 1st ever hundred versus Sri Lanka meant that the champion cricketer now had a ton against all nine other Test playing nations. The South Africans headed to tea at 236-2 with Alviro Petersen and Jacques Kallis unbeaten on 99 and 103 respectively. It was another session of dominance for the South Africans wherein they scored 101 runs without losing a wicket.

Petersen, who wafted at the last ball prior to tea, reached his 2nd Test hundred in the second over of the post tea session of Day 1. His partner in crime, Kallis continued on his merry way and despatched the loose ones with aplomb. The menacing partnership scaled the lofty 200 run peak. Finally, Welegedara undid Petersen for 109 via a well-disguised slower one to provide the visitors that elusive breakthrough. Dilshan at extra cover pouched the lazy drive from the opener without any fuss.

The Sri Lankans managed to arrest the scoring rate thereafter. AB de Villiers, who took 17 deliveries to open his account, was forced to toil hard. Kallis too had to adopt a rather watchful approach to keep the wickets intact. The solid De Villiers was secure in defence and began to wear down the bowlers. The islanders opted for the new red cherry as soon as it became available. Kallis though marched to 150 in his 150th test. De Villers and Kallis saw through the last half an hour to guide the Proteas to 347-3 when the day's play concluded.

The Proteas warriors will be confident of posting a 550 plus total in their first essay to bat Dilshan and company out of the game and thereby inch closer to their first series triumph on home soil since 2008. Sri Lanka on the other hand will have to play excellent cricket to give themselves a smidgen hope of saving the match.


Sri Lanka: T Dilshan (captain), L Thirumane, K Sangakkara, M Jayawardene, T Samaraweera, A Mathews (vice-captain), D Chandimal (keeper), R Herath, T Perera, C Welegedara, D Prasad.

South Africa: G Smith (captain), A Petersen, H Amla, J Kallis, AB de Villiers (vice captain), J Rudolph, M Boucher (keeper), V Philander, D Steyn, M Morkel, I Tahir.


South Africa 1st Innings 347-3 (90 overs, 3.85 rpo)
J Kallis 159*(215) D Prasad 2-85
A Peterson 109(188) C Welegedara 1-75

Also Read: Jacques Kallis 150 tests in the Making

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