The retiring Jacques Kallis has had one final say, as his unbeaten 78 guided South Africa to 299-5 on the third day of the second Test against India at Kingsmead.

Playing his final test, Kallis gave the home crowd hope of a farewell century from the country's most significant cricketer as he ended the day with 78 not out at stumps on Saturday.

Kallis anchored South Africa's first-innings, as he has done in countless Tests over his 18-year career reply to India's 334 as the Proteas cut the deficit to 35 by the end of the third day at Kingsmead.

The 38-year-old veteran's 127-run partnership with AB de Villiers (74) for the fourth wicket was the platform for South Africa as it searches for a fitting send-off for its most successful batsman and one of the game's great allrounders.

Kallis faced 224 balls and hit 10 fours after coming in to a guard of honour from India's fielders at the ground where he made his debut in 1995.

After acknowledging a standing ovation, and shaking hands with India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Kallis constructed a 59th half-century in tests and approached his 45th career century.

He already has the second highest number of centuries in tests after India great Sachin Tendulkar and needs 115 runs in Durban to go past Rahul Dravid and third on the all-time runscorers list.

Kallis anchored South Africa's innings like he has done in countless games before, playing cautiously toward the end as spinner Ravindra Jadeja extracted turn and bounce from the pitch to take four of South Africa's five wickets, which all came on the third day after the home team was strong on 82 for no loss overnight.

Jadeja took 4-87 after being recalled to the team for the second and final test, removing openers Graeme Smith and Alviro Petersen, then De Villiers and JP Duminy. Seamer Mohammed Shami had a single wicket.

South Africa was in a little trouble at 113-3 just after Kallis came in around an hour into the day.

He hit Jadeja for two fours over mid-off early in his innings to stamp his authority, but allowed De Villiers to attack for much of their partnership as the in-form wicketkeeper-batsman, off a century in the first test in Johannesburg, hit nine fours in his 74 off 117 balls.

De Villiers fell to Jadeja for India's only breakthrough of the second session and after that Kallis had a nervous stay in the 40s before he sent a drive to the boundary for his 50.

The impressive Jadeja had spun out both South African openers at the start of the day to give India some progress following a century stand between Petersen (62) and Smith (47). The slow left-arm spinner had Smith caught at midwicket off a miscued lofted drive and Petersen out off an edge to slip.

One ball before Petersen fell, Hashim Amla was bowled by Shami for 3 and India took those three wickets for just 13 runs in the morning to pull South Africa back.

Kallis appreciated the guard of honor, but then pushed emotion to one side to share the big century stand with De Villiers to settle South Africa, and ultimately put the home team in charge in the deciding test in the short two-match series.

Kallis spent a long time in the 40s and an agonizing few minutes on 49 before lifting the crowd off their seats to applaud him with a square drive behind point for four to go to his half-century. He removed his helmet and lifted his bat as if it was a century.

Kallis also took his 200th test catch in India's first innings and would create a fairytale story if he finished his career with another hundred.

Source: AP