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Windies, South Africa start series in a draw

Windies, South Africa start series in a draw

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An unbeaten hundred by Jacques Kallis allowed South Africa to bat through the final day of the first Digicel Test against the West Indies to ensure a draw at Bourda on Monday.

Following-on for the first time in over three years the tourists were indebted to Kallis, whose 109 steered his team to safety at 269 for four in their second innings when opposing captain Shivnarine Chanderpaul acknowledged that he no longer had any realistic prospect of winning. {{more}}The match was called off with eight of the mandatory final 15 overs left to be bowled.

Windies captain Shivnarine Chanderpaul was named Man-of-the-Match on the strength of his unbeaten 203 out of a total of 543 for five declared in his side’s only innings.

At 119 for three, an hour before lunch and given the manner of the dismissal, a decent crowd gathered at Bourda had reason to believe that the expected variable bounce and West Indian bowling discipline would get the better of the South Africans.

But Kallis remained rock solid, and with Herschelle Gibbs restraining his style, the pair made the match safe with a 139-run fourth-wicket stand that spanned just over four hours and was only ended when Gibbs lost concentration in the first of the final 15 overs.

Within one run of an 18th Test half-century, he offered no shot to a Ryan Hinds delivery that pitched outside the leg-stump and watched in bewilderment as the ball brushed his front pad before clipping his off-stump. Yet whatever disappointment the 31-year-old would have felt at missing out on the milestone would have been eased considerably by the fact that his innings of 207 deliveries with six fours was almost as important as Kallis’.

Mark Boucher, a joint top-scorer in the visitors’ first innings total of 188, did as was required in the final minutes before the match was called off.

For a West Indies side not given much hope at the start of the match last Thursday; the overall performance would also have been encouraging, leaving both teams upbeat before battle again in Trinidad today.

With former captain Brian Lara along with Chris Gayle and Ramnaresh Sarwan expected to return to the team for the Second Test in Port-of-Spain starting today, speculation was rife even at the close of play as to whether Chanderpaul would have been retained as skipper.

Try as he did in rotating his three frontline pacers and giving the part-time slow bowlers – including himself – a combined 71 overs during the course of the innings, Chanderpaul could not dislodge Kallis.

When he reached 55, he became only the second South African after Gary Kirsten to compile 7,000 Test runs, and in glancing Reon King to long-leg for his 100th run, the 29-year-old right-hander equalled Kirsten’s record of 21 for the most Test centuries for his country.

Resuming on the final morning in partnership with Jacques Rudolph, Kallis was a pillar of solidity throughout a day blessed with the best weather of the match. Yet he needed a slice of luck that, had it gone the other way, could have resulted in a different finish.

On 22, he edged Chanderpaul, but Courtney Browne could not get his gloves to it as it crashed into the wicketkeeper’s pads.

The Barbadian had earlier missed a difficult chance diving down the leg-side when Rudolph glanced a delivery from Darren Powell. The left-hander eventually fell lbw for 24 to Narsingh Deonarine.

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