Kallis turns heat on to the Aussies

JAQUES Kallis is yet to prove himself fully fit for the Melbourne Boxing Day Test but that didn't stop the South African all-rounder from playing some mind games yesterday by turning up the heat on the Australian team. Kallis says he hopes the barrage of media criticism directed at Australian skipper Ricky Ponting this week for his delayed declaration in the drawn first Test in Perth adds pressure on the home side before the vital second Test starting on Monday. Ponting's vice-captain, Adam Gilchrist, national selector Merv Hughes and Brad Hodge have been among those to spring to the skipper's defence after he waited until Hodge reached his double century on the fourth day of the WACA Test before declaring. That left South Africa with a world-record chase of 491 runs in 126 overs spread over four sessions of play, with the tourists eventually making 5-287 at stumps on the fifth day's play. "A lot of people thought we would get knocked over,'' Kallis said yesterday at the MCG. "I don't think Australia have had too much criticism over the last while. "Hopefully that will play into our hands. It probably wasn't a bad declaration.

"It probably did help us that he delayed it so long but you can't read too much into it.'' Famous for his mental strength, Kallis said the draw would be a turning point in the careers of some of his team-mates including Jacques Rudolph who made an epic 102 not out, batting for more than seven hours after only getting a game because Kallis was out injured. But Kallis added: "Australia are a tough side. They are going to come out fighting and we need to be prepared for it. "If we come out fighting on day one, like the cricket we played on the first day in Perth, I think we've got a good shot,'' he said.

NSW opening batsman Phil Jaques, who has gone from a holiday on the Whitsunday Islands earlier this week to preparing to make his Test debut on Monday, says Australia has not lost focus despite the disappointment of the drawn first Test in the threematch series.

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