tributes written after his retirement describe Kallis as being one of the most under-rated of great cricketers, and I think this is probably true, for a number of reasons. Firstly it's often forgotten that he was a great all-rounder, not just a batsman - he did bowl a lot less in the later stages of his career, but he still ended up fifth on the all-time wicket-taking list for South Africa with 292. Secondly, there was a perception that despite his awesome power he was a bit one-paced (and, by implication, selfish) as a batsman, too concerned with protecting his wicket and his average to be able to let himself go when the match situation demanded it. There's probably some truth in this, but it is also true that Kallis owns the fastest Test 50 ever scored, and is second on the all-time six-hitting list with 97, three behind Adam Gilchrist.
Anyway, the batting average progression table now looks like this:
Break it down by country, keep the 3000-run minimum restriction, add one that says averages of over 40 only, and you get this:
|Aravinda de Silva||2002||42.97|
Bangladesh don't get a box as they have no-one meeting the entry criteria. Again, recall that for each entry in the list, no-one who has come later has finished with a higher average. There's an interesting contrast between the English and Australian lists, one that reflects the pitiful nature of England's performances (i.e. a desperate lack of runs) in the recently-concluded Ashes series. Note that no-one since Ken Barrington, 46 years ago, has finished a Test career for England with a career average of over 50, and that no-one since Geoff Boycott 32 years ago has finished with an average of over 45. Contrast that with the Australian list - the recent retirement of a couple of big cheeses has obliterated some detail from the list (note that Kallis and Tendulkar's retirements collapse their respective lists to a single entry), but a bit of research reveals that since 1982 there have been six batsmen finishing with a career average of over 50 (Chappell, Ponting, Hussey, Steve Waugh, Matthew Hayden and Allan Border) and a further five finishing with an average of over 45 (Gilchrist, Dean Jones, Damien Martyn, Justin Langer and Simon Katich).
Again, this could all change - Kevin Pietersen, Alistair Cook, Jonathan Trott (doubts about his England future notwithstanding) and Ian Bell all currently average between 46 and 48, though their numbers have all headed south a bit during the recent Ashes debacle.