SOUTH AFRICA’S batting hero Jacques Kallis tore into his own bowlers after England cruised to 88-1 off 23 largely innocuous overs at sizzling Centurion to put the first Test back in the balance.
All-rounder Kallis, whose 120 helped South Africa reach 418 after the early departure of their captain Graeme Smith for a duck on day one, confirmed he will definitely not be bowling on day three today after fracturing a rib in October.
But that didn’t stop him getting stuck into his own attack. He said: “I won’t bowl for another week. I’ll spend some time in the oxygen chamber in Cape Town. It’s a bit of a precaution, a bit of common sense.
“I’ve done a bit of bowling, but nothing with any high intensity. The injury was fine when I was batting, but I won’t be taking any risks. I’m disappointed I didn’t go on to score more but I’m happy with 120 on that pitch, I never felt like I was really in on it.”
But then Kallis turned on his team saying: “We were really disappointing when they got in tonight. We did well to get over 400 but then we bowled them too many freebies.
“Andrew Strauss (44 off 70 balls) is a good batsman, we had a plan for him but our bowlers failed to execute it and now he’s in. We’ll have to do a lot better tomorrow. No doubt about it. We’ve got to bowl a better line.
“That pitch will get quicker which might help us, but we have to bowl better. We didn’t score as quickly as them, but that’s because our bowling was so poor.”
Former South African paceman Allan Donald, who described the pitch as “a bit of a road”, backed Kallis by saying: “It’s going to be a real test of character for both sides tomorrow. Our bowlers have to find the right length. Makhaya Ntini did it once and the ball was still going upwards when it hit the wicketkeeper.”
Graham Onions, still limping after bowling 30 overs with a calf strain, was one of England’s heroes with his 3-86 yesterday, alongside Graeme Swann, who took a magnificent 5-110 off a marathon 45.2 overs in the heat.
Onions, favouring his right calf, said: “I have to thank our medical team. They really worked hard on me. It’s not ideal with a four-man attack when one of them goes off for 40 minutes, but they did the business. And they iced it overnight.
“This morning it wasn’t too bad. But the last two days are among the toughest I’ve ever had in the field. It’s not quite like it is up north here. It wasn’t that hot early in the tour, but you can always bet on blazing sunshine for the Test series!
“I’ve played in South Africa a few times over the years but this was my first overseas Test and I thought, as a unit, our bowlers stuck to it. Our fielders backed us up, there were some good catches. It was disappointing they got over 400.
“There was a bit on a nip in the pitch on day one and if we’d had a little more luck we might have got them for 350. But I don’t think we bowled badly.
“Now we have to bat all day tomorrow. I still believe we can get in a winning position in this test. We batted well tonight and if we can get a good score and put pressure on them this Test could still be up for grabs.”
“But there’s no question who should get the plaudits today. Graeme Swann deserved his five wickets. He got a bit of turn, and he never gave up.”