First there was Rahul Dravid (in 2012); then there was Ricky Ponting (2012); and then Sachin Tendulkar (2013). Now Jacques Kallis—the greatest all-rounder of his generation—has retired from Test cricket. Tendulkar (15921), Ponting (13378), Kallis (13289), and Dravid (13288)—giants of the game—accumulated more runs in Test cricket than anyone before. Of those still playing the game, only Alastair Cook, Kevin Pietersen, and Michael Clarke (all of whom have just passed 8,000 runs in Test cricket) stand a realistic chance of catching them.
Kallis—physically an aircraft carrier compared to the pocket battleships that were Dravid, Ponting, and Tendulkar—served as the imposing center for a South African fleet that for a decade promised much but never fulfilled its considerable potential. It is now, by any estimation, the best team in the world, and by a considerable distance. That the departure of Kallis is not causing South Africans to quake in their boots bears witness to the depth and strength, but also to the big man himself: for so long a dominant figure at number four in the batting line-up and a more-than-useful bowler who ended up with just shy of 300 wickets to his name.
Kallis finished off his Test career in style, scoring his forty-fifth century (only six shy of the Little Master himself) in his last time at bat. Here is a potted version of that final innings.