Cape Town:India off-spinner Harbhajan Singh on Wednesday doffed his hat on Jacques Kallis, who hit a century in each innings of the third Test here, by describing the South African batsman as the best modern cricketer after Sachin Tendulkar.
"Kallis is in the form of his life. We all know that he has got the record to speak for himself. I would rate him very high. After Tendulkar, I think Kallis is the best cricketer in the world," Harbhajan said of Kallis who single-handedly set India a target of 340 to win the series-decider.
Asked how he felt bowling to Kallis when he was set, Harbhajan said, "It was not demoralizing. It was a challenge to bowl to him. I've got him out on many occasions but I've not been able to get him out this series."
"On the first day it was overcast and the ball was doing a lot. He played well then and now again in the second innings he's shown how good he is," said Harbhajan Singh at the press conference after the fourth day's play.
Kallis today scored his 40th Test hundred to go past Australian Ricky Ponting and become the batsman with second highest number of centuries. He is now second only to Tendulkar, who has scored an incredible 51 hundreds.
Kallis also became only the sixth South African to score centuries in both the innings of a Test match and first to do so at home. He has now achieved the feat twice as he had earlier scored 155 and 100 not out in Karachi in 2007.
On India's chase, which will begin on Thursday on the final day, the off-spinner said a good start is imperative for them.
"Kallis and Boucher showed that if you use your brains you can score runs. We need to see off the first hour. We need some firecrackers from Sehwag. If he can take us to 100 for no loss, that will be a good start. The new ball will be crucial," he said.
Talking about the wicket of New Lands, he said,"It does a bit in the morning, but as the day progresses it gets settled a bit. I don't know why that is. I would have liked to get wickets later on as well as it would have been good to chase 200. Kallis showed what a big players he is, scoring runs under pressure in difficult conditions."
Harbhajan said the kind of cricket the two team played in the series was of high standard.
"It was a great series. When No. 1 and No. 2 play you have great competition. This is what you expect from a series like this. At one stage we thought we would be chasing 200, but now we're left with 340 to get.
"There have been runs scored, wickets taken. It's better to play in conditions like this where there is something in the bowling all the time. In India, there's nothing for the bowling and people like me go in at No. 7 and can murder the bowling," he said.