Kallis guides SA to safety on Day 1
South Africa did well to recover from a bad start to end at 232 for four on the opening day and and leave the crucial third cricket Test evenly poised in Cape Town on Sunday.
Put into bat in overcast conditions, South Africa lost both openers quickly but relied on Jacques Kallis (81 batting) to guide them to a far more comfortable position at stumps on a rain-truncated day.
Ashwell Prince was giving Kallis company on 28 when the stumps were drawn after an extended final session at Newlands.
Image: Jacques Kallis
SA steady rocking boat after substantial partnerships
South Africa were tottering at 34 for two at one stage but the experienced Kallis again thwarted India's plans of ripping through the home side batting line-up by holding fort with a mix of caution and aggression. He hit 16 fours while facing 169 balls.
Kallis stitched three substantive partnerships, first with Hashim Amla (59) for 72 runs for the third wicket before stands of 58 and 68 runs for the fourth and unfinished fifth wickets with A B de Villiers (26) and Prince respectively.
Amla was looking good for a big innings as he played the Indian pace trio with a lot of conviction, especially after second rain break, before a poor shot off Sreesanth's bowling did him in.
The Indian pace trio of Zaheer Khan, S Sreesanth and Ishant Sharma failed to capitalise on the favourable conditions as they could get just four wickets on a day which was overcast for most part with two rain-breaks.
Image: Hashim Amla
Sreesanth delivers for India
Sreesanth (2/70) was also not consistent in his line and length though he was the most successful bowler of the day, taking the crucial wickets of Amla and de Villiers.
The hosts were in a tricky situation at 61 for two in 21 overs at the second rain break but Amla made his intentions clear as he clipped Zaheer for three boundaries. The senior India pacer was guilty of bowling juicy half volleys on Amla's pads and got duly punished in the process.
When Sreesanth bowled outswingers, Amla drove through covers. When the temperamental Kerala speedster dug one short, Amla, South Africa's most consistent batsmen over the last season, got into perfect position to pull-it over fine-leg for maximum to complete his 19th half century in Test cricket with the help of eight fours and a six.
However, Sreesanth had the last laugh when Amla fell for the bait going for another pull-shot. Cheteshwar Pujara was stationed at deep mid-wicket for this particular shot and he took a simple catch.
As play resumed post-lunch, Ishant got into the act as he got Alviro Petersen (21, 47 balls, 3x4) to drive on the up and the snick was taken easily Mahendra Singh Dhoni behind the stumps.
Image: India's Harbhajan Singh celebrates with S Sreesanth