Jacques Kallis' send-off party

South AfricaSouth Africa players and team members pose for photographers after winning the cricket test series against India at Kingsmead stadium, Durban, South Africa, Monday, Dec. 30, 2013. AP/PTI

Around 10 minutes had passed since Graeme Smith had cut Rohit Sharma to the point fence for the winning runs. The South African skipper had then run up the steps with Alviro Petersen into the dressing room. There was still no sign of Jacques Kallis though. The crowd-count at Kingsmead had gone up to 7,800 by now. The anticipation was reaching fever-pitch. Then all of a sudden some 20 Kallises walked down the balcony.

Every single member of the South African team, including support staff, donning t-shirts bearing a picture of the man himself and a caption at the back reading 'The only man to have scored 10,000 runs and taken 200 wickets Dec 1995-Dec 2013'. Of course the original Jacques Kallis was among them, still decked in his Protea Test gear for one final time.

Soon Kallis was being carried around the ground, seated on the shoulders of Smith and Morne Morkel. As the lap of honour trudged around Kingsmead, Kallis stood out like a beacon, just like he has for close to two decades. The tributes continued to flow. Not long after Dale Steyn revealed a conversation that the retiring all-rounder had had with his South African team at the end of Day Two. "Please ensure that my final Test doesn't fizzle out into a draw," he had said.

Smith & Co hadn't let him down. They had not just fulfilled Kallis' wishes. The No.1 Test team in the world had done so in style. The end was rather anti-climactic in terms of the almighty scrap the two teams had indulged in at the Wanderers for a stalemate in the first Test. The eventual margin was symptomatic of that. A victory for the home team by 10 wickets and a convincing one at that. Smith and Petersen only required 11.4 overs to surpass their target of 58.

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