Jacques Kallis, one of the greatest all-rounders of the game, today bid adieu to Test cricket after an illustrious 18-year career in a fairytale script as he hit a century in his swansong match in South Africa's 10-wicket thrashing of India here today.
The script for Kallis' Test retirement could not have been better as he ended his career as the third highest run- getter in the longest format of the game, besides also bowing out with a win by his side.
The 38-year-old 'King' Kallis ended his Test career on 13,289 runs from 166 Tests, only behind Sachin Tendulkar (15,921) and Ricky Ponting (13,378) in the all-time list.
His batting average stood at an outstanding 55.37 and has also taken 292 wickets and 200 catches. His 45 tons in Test cricket is only second to Tendulkar's 51.
Kallis will continue to play in the One-Day Internationals and he has so far scored 11,574 runs from 325 ODI matches and has taken 273 wickets at an average of 31.79.
The burly South African, who made his Test debut against England here in December 1995, acknowledged that the script could not have been better.
"It's been incredible, the way people have come out to support me, the way CSA and my team-mates have made it a special game. I could not have asked for more," Kallis said after South Africa clinched the two-match series against India 1-0 here.
"I just felt I lost that little bit of an edge, because mentally it is quite tough over the five days. If I can't give 100%, I don't want to be bringing a team down. I had 18 wonderful years. I woke up and said it is time. I am 100% convinced that it is. When I started playing, I said I wanted to leave in a better state than what I joined it, hopefully I've done that," he said at the press conference after South Africa beat India by 10 wickets in the final Test here.
He said the decision to quit from Test cricket was his own though he consulted his team-mates.
"I planned it with Graeme Smith and Mark Boucher. It was totally my call. There were no outside influences," he said.
"Tough call (to retire from Tests). I still had the same butterflies ahead of this game, thanks to M S (Dhoni) and the (Indian) team for the guard of honour, I was glad I didn't face the next ball then," said Kallis who hit 115 in South Africa's first innings. He did not need to bat in the second innings.