Jacques Kallis’ all-round mastery drives Proteas to comfortable victory

JACQUES Kallis celebrated his 150th Test match with one of the most complete all-round performances of his career as he inspired South Africa to a ten-wicket victory over Sri Lanka yesterday and a first home series win in three years.

Kallis had marked his milestone match at his home ground at Newlands with a career-best 224 in South Africa’s rampant first-innings batting effort in the third Test.

He then picked up 3-35 with the ball in Sri Lanka’s second innings on the fourth day and completed a South African record six catches in the match to be the driving force behind the Proteas’ dominant win.

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South Africa overcame a heavy 208-run loss in the second Test, their first Test defeat on home soil to the Sri Lankans, to seal a first home series success since they beat Bangladesh in 2008.

It ended a run of four home series without a win, where South Africa failed to close out strong positions in the last three. In Cape Town, South Africa finally found the killer instinct to bowl Sri Lanka out for 239 and then 342 just before tea yesterday after it had followed on in response to South Africa’s daunting and Kallis-inspired 580-4 declared.

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Needing just two runs to clinch the match and a 2-1 series victory with over a day to spare, opener Alviro Petersen drove the first ball of South Africa’s second innings, a no-ball from Dhammika Prasad, back through mid-on and to the boundary.

At the non-striker’s end, captain Graeme Smith needn’t have padded up.

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A fighting 115 not out from Thilan Samaraweera had earlier delayed South Africa’s march to victory in a gritty 142-run partnership with Angelo Mathews (63). Their disciplined stand under great pressure from South Africa’s relentless attack was chiefly responsible for the hosts having to bat again.

However, Samaraweera’s impressive second century of the series, where he hit 14 fours to prop up Sri Lanka’s failing batting line-up, couldn’t prevent South Africa’s long-awaited victory.

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Having not been in Sri Lanka’s initial squad for the tour, Samaraweera’s first century in South Africa had set up their historic win in Durban. But, despite the 35-year-old batsman’s fight at Newlands, Sri Lanka slid away to its fourth series defeat in four trips to South Africa.

Sri Lanka started yesterday 138-4 in its second innings and still 203 runs from making South Africa bat again.

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But Samaraweera and Mathews, who came together with Sri Lanka 98-4 and almost certain to slump to an innings defeat, lifted the tourists to 240-5 when Mathews fell to South Africa’s Vernon Philander and the tourists added just 102 more for its last five wickets.