|Kallis hit a century and a half to put South Africa on the front foot after first day [AFP]|
Jacques Kallis hit 159 not out in his 150th Test on Tuesday to guide South Africa to a dominant 347-3 at stumps on day one of the series decider against Sri Lanka at Newlands.
Kallis marked the milestone match at his home ground with a 41st Test hundred and shared a 205-run partnership with recalled opener Alviro Petersen (109).
Kallis was in attacking form from the start in the third Test to boost South Africa’s hopes of a first home series win since 2008. The 36-year-old right-hander took just 42 balls to reach 50 and 114 balls for his century. He hit 21 fours and a six in all as Sri Lanka were made to pay for their decision to send South Africa in to bat on a true pitch in Cape Town.
Dhammika Prasad had 2-85, while Chanaka Welegedara dismissed Petersen for his 1-75, but Kallis then combined with A.B. de Villiers (45 not out) for an unbroken 86-run stand in the late afternoon to see South Africa through to the close in complete control.
Kallis celebrated becoming the sixth man to play 150 Tests with a century just before tea and Petersen reached 100 early in the final session as South Africa capitalised after being given the chance to bat first by Sri Lanka skipper Tillakaratne Dilshan.
Prasad marked his first match on tour with a wicket off his first ball when South Africa captain Graeme Smith played on for 16. Prasad also had Hashim Amla (16) out lbw to leave South Africa on 56-2.
But Petersen and Kallis responded with a record partnership for South Africa against Sri Lanka. The pair hit boundaries all around the ground to overtake the 165-run stand between Jacques Rudolph and Andrew Hall in Colombo in 2006.
Kallis stroked a string of straight and cover drives to go to 50. The right-hander didn’t let up in the afternoon session to produce a precious innings with the three-match series on the line at 1-1.
He hit 17 fours in his century to complete a career set of hundreds against every Test nation. Only India’s Sachin Tendulkar (51) has made more Test centuries than Kallis.
Petersen had provided South Africa with the early initiative in his first Test for his country in a year after he was recalled in place of Ashwell Prince. He had 12 fours and a six to go to the brink of three figures by tea, then reached 100 with a clip to the legside soon after the break. South Africa scored at nearly five runs an over through the first two sessions of the match.
Boosted by their 208-run win in the second Test in Durban last week, Sri Lanka are chasing a first ever series win in South Africa but appeared to have made a major mistake by putting the home team in to bat.
Prasad did make an immediate impact after being introduced in the fifth over when Smith was cramped for space and chopped on to his stumps. Amla was trapped on the back foot in front of leg stump but after that the batsmen were barely troubled in ideal batting conditions until the Petersen-Kallis third-wicket partnership was broken.
That breakthrough came when Petersen chipped a catch to Dilshan in the covers off Welegedara but South Africa were already 261-3 and – inspired by Kallis – on course for a big first-innings total.