India reached 68 for two at stumps on day four of the second Test against South Africa in Durban, where bad light halted play four overs early.
In what is likely to be his final Test innings prior to retirement, Jacques Kallis stroked 115 as South Africa hit 500 in reply to India's 334 all out.
With Cheteshwar Pujara unbeaten on 32 and Virat Kohli on 11, they still trail the Proteas by 98 runs in the second innings, with only one day remaining in the match for either side to force a result.
Rain once again intervened during the day, making a draw the most likely outcome, even as the hosts finished their first innings at 500 in reply to India’s 334.
India started their first innings 166 runs behind with three and a half full sessions to bat out and save the game. Meanwhile, South Africa were eager to take 10 quick wickets to earn Kallis victory in his final Test match.
They were off to a good start. Vernon Philander (1-9) got Murali Vijay (6 runs, 13 balls) early for the first time in four innings, out caught at first slip after edging an out-swinger without moving his front foot much.
Dale Steyn (0-5) and Morne Morkel (0-11) bowled well with the new ball, getting more pace, bounce and movement than the Indian attack earlier on, yet couldn’t get any more breakthroughs.
Shikhar Dhawan was more watchful than usual, carefully leaving deliveries he didn’t need to play at. Pujara meanwhile was his resilient self, playing for time.
The two batsmen silently put on 45 runs for the second wicket, successfully negotiating the initial pace barrage. But against the run of play, Dhawan was dismissed by a superb catch from Faf du Plessis at short midwicket.
Robin Peterson (1-23) was the bowler, although he didn’t do much in the dismissal. Dhawan had managed to flick the delivery, yet du Plessis made an unexpected jump and plucked the ball out with lightning speed. The batsman walked away having batted for two hours and scored 19 runs off 87 balls, with two fours.
Kohli then joined Pujara in the middle and India’s two best batsmen on display avoided further damage, putting on 15 runs off 49 balls.
Earlier in a rain-interrupted first two sessions of the day, South Africa finished at 500 all out (155.2 overs).
Shortly after resumption of play after tea, du Plessis (43 runs, 70 balls, four fours) was run out by a direct throw from Rohit Sharma. In the 156th over of the innings, also the last, Morne Morkel (0) was caught and bowled by Ravindra Jadeja who garnered his best bowling figures in a Test innings. He took six for 138 in 58.2 overs, beating his previous best of five for 58 versus Australia in Delhi earlier in 2013.
Zaheer Khan (2-97) picked up a wicket either side of lunch. Mohammad Shami (1-104) was taken for runs after the second new ball, as was Ishant Sharma (0-114). Sharma (0-29) was the only other bowler tried.
Before the tea break, Peterson (61 runs, 52 balls, nine fours, one six) smacked a quickfire half-century to help build the lead with du Plessis, putting up 110 runs at 6.11 runs per over.
Starting at 395 for seven after play was again delayed by 15 minutes after lunch, Peterson and du Plessis looked for runs - as against the approach seen early in the day.
The first over after the break bowled by Zaheer was taken for two boundaries and the batsmen attacked Jadeja as well. India delayed taking the new ball still, keen to play for time and force a draw. But five overs later, in the 147th, the two umpires decided to change the ball and gave India their second new ball.
The effects were there to see as the 50-run partnership came up in the same over, bowled by Shami, even as Peterson should have been given LBW. He was on 31 runs at that time and went on to cause mayhem afterwards.
The new ball also meant that Jadeja’s marathon spell came to an end during which he returned figures of 25-8-53-2.
Peterson brought up his third Test half-century in the 152nd over, and their 100-run partnership in the very next, as 77 runs came in less than one hour of play after the lunch break. He even hit Rohit Sharma for a switch-hit six in the 154th over of the innings, the match’s first after nearly four hours of play.
He fell three balls later, out caught trying to hit Zaheer off the park, even as rain came down to cause another disruption.
This was after Kallis brought up his 45th Test hundred in the pre-lunch session. He scored 115 runs (316 balls, 13 fours) before getting out, and in doing so went past Rahul Dravid’s tally of 13,288 runs in 164 matches by one run, to end up as the third-highest run-getter in Test cricket history.
He started the day slowly, and had a nervy moment against Jadeja in the 130th over, nearly playing the ball on to his stumps, before flicking to square leg for a single and bringing up his century.
He scored 100 runs off 273 balls, batting for 334 minutes and hitting 13 fours. In the next two overs, he brought up his 50-run partnership with Dale Steyn (44 runs, 94 balls, seven fours) for the sixth wicket, as his good friend performed his nightwatchman duty properly.
It was in the 133rd over, against Zaheer, that Kallis went past Dravid as he played a deliberate late cut past slip. Perhaps that was his big target, for in the very next over, he went for an uncharacteristic big shot against Jadeja and holed out.
It most likely brought an end to his batting career, for a second innings seems impossible at this stage, and his team-mates came out of the dressing room to embrace him.
On day one, India won the toss and elected to bat first following which the 140-run stand between Vijay and Pujara for the second wicket took them to 181 for one when bad light halted play approximately 90 minutes before stumps.
On day two, Dale Steyn took six for 100 to dismiss India for 334 runs, after rain washed out the morning session. On day three, rain intervened again in the third session, after Jadeja took four wickets and Kallis stroked a counter-attacking half-century to take South Africa to 299 for five at close of play.
The first Test of the series, played at Johannesburg, was drawn, after a pulsating fifth day, wherein South Africa closed eight runs short of a world-record fourth innings’ chase after India had set them a target of 458.
© Cricket World 2013