Durban: In a fitting tribute to one of the greatest all-rounders of the game, Kingsmead gave Jacques Kallis a standing ovation as the veteran star led the South Africans out as the Boxing Day Test against India started on Thursday. Kallis will be retiring at the end of this Test match after making his debut in December 1995. Before this Kingsmead game, Kallis has scored 13174 runs in 165 Tests and is the third big player to quit Test cricket this season after Ricky Ponting and Sachin Tendulkar. (Pollock, Wessels hail Kallis)
Thirty-eight-year-old Kallis announced his retirement on Wednesday. He will continue to play ODIs and T20s for South Africa. On Thursday, Kallis led the South Africans out after India won the toss and decided to bat. At the toss, South African skipper Graeme Smith said: "Kallis was probably the greatest cricketer to have come out of our country. It's been an emotional few days. I have been chatting to Jacques since before the first Test. We want to put in a special performance for him in this match." (Hope to play 2015 World Cup: Kallis)
In 165 Tests for South Africa, Kallis scored 13174 runs at a stunning average of 55.12. He also has 292 wickets and 199 Test catches, proving what a quality cricketer he has been for his team in the last 18 years. With 44 hundreds to his name, Kallis was closest to Tendulkar's record of 51 Test centuries. (Kallis' maturity and calmness will be missed: Domingo)
He is the greatest all-rounder the game has seen, at least in terms of statistics, leaving behind Garfield Sobers (8032 runs, 235 wickets, 109 catches in 93 Tests) and Ian Botham (5200 runs, 383 wickets, 120 catches in 102 Tests.) Kallis is currently fourth on the list of leading run-getters in Test cricket, behind Tendulkar (15921 runs in 200 Tests), Ricky Ponting (13378 runs in 168 Tests) and Rahul Dravid (13288 runs in 164 Tests). (Kallis to quit Tests after India series)
"It wasn't an easy decision, with Australia around the corner and the success this team is enjoying, but I feel the time is right. I don't see it as goodbye, I still have a lot of hunger to push South Africa to that World Cup in 2015 if I am fit and performing," Kallis said in a statement.
Following Kallis' retirement, Sri Lanka's Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene will remain the only active players, who feature in the top-10 century scorers in the Test cricket. Tendulkar leads the list with 51 centuries and is followed by Kallis (44), Ponting (41), Dravid (36), Sunil Gavaskar (34), Brian Lara (34), Sangakkara (33), Steve Waugh (32), Jayawardene (31) and Matthew Hayden (30).