Sachin Tendulkar proved to be the most prolific run-scorer for India, notching up a historic a 50th Test ton in the process, but could not go past the ever-consistent Jacques Kallis in the just-concluded three-match series against South Africa.
Tendulkar hit a total of 326 runs at an average of 81.50 in three matches with a highest of 146. Kallis, on the other hand, scored a total of 498 runs at an average of 166 and was dismissed only thrice in 870 balls. His highest of 201 not out in the series in the first Test gave Proteas their only win in the series.
The series that ended in a 1-1 draw, witnessed keen contest between the bat and ball with some of the greatest legends of the game in Kallis, Tendulkar and VVS Laxman proving their worth all over again under tough conditions.
One of the most under-rated but most reliable batsman — Kallis — yet again rose to the occasion and turned out to be instrumental in South Africa challenging the number one Test team in the world.
In fact, of the three times that he got dismissed in the series, one was an unfortunate run out at the non-strikers’ end, while another was a result of arguably the best ball of the series.
The 35-year-old’s average of 166 is the sixth time he has averaged 100-plus in a series. For India as well, the story was no different. For them, batting icon Tendulkar contributed to the team’s success, becoming the second highest run-getter in the series.
In fact, the right-hander, who now creates a new record every few runs that he scores, went on to hit the historic 50th Test century at Centurion in the first match itself.
But he did not stop there and chipped in with valuable runs in all three matches. He also scored another hundred in the third Test that ultimately helped the team to draw the series against the South Africans in their own backyard.
As far as bowling was concerned, Dale Steyn sent down some real threat in the opposition batting camp. The Protean fast bowling combination of Steyn and Morne Morkel wrecked havoc and it took batsmen of the stature of Tendulkar and Laxman to counter it.
The battle between Tendulkar and Steyn could be considered as one of the highlights of the series. Steyn took 21 wickets at an average of 17.47. Harbhajan Singh topped the Indian bowling chart with 15 wickets to his credit at an average of 29.60.
The seven wickets that he claimed in the second innings in the third Test, almost handed India the series victory on South African soil but for the great resistance from veteran Kallis that it could not be achieved.
Keywords: India-South Africa Test series