South Africa won retiring allrounder Jacques Kallis’ last Test on Monday to seal the series against India with a 10-wicket victory on the final day at Kingsmead.
South African openers Alviro Petersen and Graeme Smith comfortably chased down their victory target of 58 soon after tea to claim the short two-game contest between Test cricket’s top two teams 1-0.
Smith ended the game by hammering a six and a four off successive deliveries and the South African captain turned and raised his arms to the dressing room where Kallis was sitting.
“I think all of us … always wanted to win it for him,” Smith said.
The 38-year-old Kallis was then carried across the field on the shoulders of teammates holding a South African flag for a lap of honour around the same ground in Durban where he made his debut as a 20-year-old prodigy in 1995.
Smiling, he was handed a beer by a fan – and drank most of it – at one corner of the ground.
Kallis surprised many by announcing on Christmas Day that he would retire following one last Test.
He finished with 13,289 Test runs and 292 wickets in his 18-year career to go down as possibly cricket’s greatest ever allrounder.
“That first Test I played here I remember being a nervous little kid,” Kallis said.
“To play 166 Test matches, I don’t think anyone ever dreams of that. I’m just thankful for every game I’ve played. I always gave whatever I had.”
Kallis also finished with one last hundred.
He made an emotional farewell 115 on Sunday – the 45th century of his Test career to move to third in the all-time run-scorers list.
The win helped the Proteas consolidate their position on top of the world rankings, picking up two points on the International Cricket Council’s rankings to be on 133, comfortably ahead of No.2 India who dropped to 117.
Australia entered the Ashes series in fifth position on the ICC’s table with 101 ratings points, but will finish in third place above England if they do not lose in the SCG Test starting on Friday.
Australia’s three-match Test series against South Africa starts on February 12 at Centurion.