South Africa all-rounder Jacques Kallis is more releived than excited. On Day 3 of the first Test against India, he notched up his maiden Test double ton. It took him all of 15 years - his entire cricketing career - and no less than 242 innings, to accomplish the feat. The question why 200 had eluded him all these years had finally been answered.
"I'm relieved at not having to answer the question anymore," Kallis said at the end-of-day press conference in Centurion. "It's a fantastic landmark and one that I have worked hard to achieve. It's good to have ticked that box."
Just as he completed the milestone, he played a mock goft shot in celebration. The gesture came in continuance of an injoke with his golfing buddy Johan Rupert, who had promised him life membership of the Leopard Creek Golf Club at Mpumalanga if he made 200. "Johan Rupert phoned me in Abu Dhabi to promise me life-time membership at Leopard Creek if I got a double-hundred, so he's the first person I'm phoning now." Rupert is a billionaire and the owner of the course, a stunner on the southern border of the Kruger National Park.
Breaking into jest, Kallis defending his growing baldness by saying, "Too much bowling into the sun did that." He went on to provide fellow balding people with some advice for re-growth. "Take a bit of beer and manure and rub it on your forehead."
Kallis' knock was of particular significance because it came against a high-profile No. 1 side in the world. "I probably would have taken it against Bangladesh or Zimbabwe but to have done it against the world's best side is special."
Kallis had to wait one painful night as play closed on Day 2 with him stranded on 182. He then had to endure a nerve-wracking 40 minutes to stroll over to his double-ton on Day 3. But having a devastating partner in A B de Villiers to see him through to the milestone, took off a lot of the pressure behind the imminent achievement. "It was fantastic and it took all the pressure off me. I could just knock the ball about. It was a privilege to watch it from the other end."