South Africa thoroughly whip Windies with day to spare: Digicel Test Cricket
South Africa continued to keep their winning streak in the Caribbean intact. After prevailing in the two Digicel Twenty20s, they whitewashed the West Indies in the five match Digicel One Day International Series. The Proteas have now added a Digicel Test win to the list as they remain on course for a whitewash of all matches on the tour.
So clinical and efficient were the visitors that they even managed to gift themselves a bonus rest day, having wrapped up the First Digicel Test in four days. In the very dying stages of Sunday afternoon at the Queen’s Park Oval, Man-of-the-Match Dale Steyn (match haul of 8 for 94) took the second new ball and it required just three deliveries of use to end a nagging last wicket partnership between Ravi Rampaul and Nelon Pascal which threatened to stretch the match into the fifth day.
After Pascal – the debutant pacer – clipped Steyn for a four, the Grenadian tried to up the level of his flamboyance and only succeeded in playing on to the stumps. The South Africans back slapped each other congratulating themselves on the 163 run win as much as the bonus day to put their feet up.
West Indies had to have known that getting 457 to win in the fourth innings was beyond just improbable. They fared better in their second turn at bat than the first when they were bundled out for 102.
By the time Pascal played on, they had gotten 293 runs, mainly through their captain, Chris Gayle’s 73, Dwayne Bravo’s entertaining 49 and Sulieman Benn’s equally swashbuckling 42 – his best Test effort to date.
Such was their improved will to fight that the last five batsmen added 101 runs after they were 192 for 6. Benn and his spin partner Shane Shillingford (27 from 38 balls, 4×4, 1×6) put on 66 for the eighth wicket as they treated the small Sunday afternoon crowd to some pugnacious strokeplay – the highlight of which was Benn hitting Jacques Kallis for three consecutive fours.
The day began with South Africa on 155 for 2 and they extended that to 206 for 4 before declaring midway to lunch. Captain, Graeme Smith, moved from 79 to 90 and with a century in sight he had his leg stump rocked by Benn who completed the innings with 3 for 74 and a match haul of 8 for 120. The other score of note in the South African innings was Kallis’ 40 (67 balls, 4×4, 1×6).
West Indies lost two wickets by lunch which was taken at 62 for 2. The wickets down were Travis Dowlin (lbw to Morne Morkel for 1) and Brendan Nash who edged Steyn to wicketkeeper, Mark Boucher, for 13.
Another two wickets were lost in the next session – but with these two batsmen laid whatever faint hopes the Windies had. Gayle played in typically aggressive fashion to saunter to 73 from 106 balls which was studded with nine fours and a six. Shivnarine Chanderpaul spent 48 balls nudging his way to 15.
Chanderpaul edged a sharp Kallis delivery to AB de Villiers at second slip while Gayle was trapped plumb lbw by Morkel.
There were periods of resistance by Narsingh Deonarine (23), Bravo and everyone else who followed. Bravo took a liking to Harris’ left arm spin which he carted to the boundary and over it twice, but Harris responded by pressuring Bravo with deliveries he found difficult to get away. As the pressure built up, Bravo lost his focus and flicked to mid wicket. Denesh Ramdin too exited in similar fashion. The right handed wicketkeeper stuck around for 43 balls for his nine runs but drove Lonswabo Tsotsobe straight to short cover to hand the left armer his first test scalp.
Benn and Shillingford then frustrated the South Africans with their half century partnership before Smith called on Alviro Petersen to break the stand which he duly did in his very first over.
Then, as the South Africans became anxious about the prospect of returning on the fifth day to complete the job, Steyn spared them and halted the resistance. Pascal aided with his ambitious shot selection but fault for a loss by 163 runs cannot lay with the number 11. Blame will have to be placed higher up with men whose jobs are to bat and score runs.