Windies capitulate, South Africa dominate (SS, DD: Same Sh… uh, Different Day) – Digicel Cricket Update

The West Indies team will be thankful that sports fans in the region are more than likely distracted by the football World Cup. And so they may have missed, or may not have been as affected by their spiritless capitulation for 102 to the South African pace duo of Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel.

It appears it will be a matter of when and not if, that Digicel will consider fertiliser as more growth and development than the entire WI Cricket team

It appears it will be a matter of when and not if, that Digicel will consider fertiliser as more growth and development than the entire WI Cricket team

Steyn and Morkel ripped the weak-willed Windies to shreds as they combined for nine wickets. Starting day three of the First Digicel Test chasing South Africa’s 352 all out, the Windies were immediately behind the eight ball as Morkel disassembled the top order to leave the home side on 12 for 3. But it was Steyn’s venom later on which the Windies showed much ineptitude against.

There was a brief period of respite as the Guyanese pair of Narsingh Deonarine – who top scored with 29 – and the more illustrious Shivnarine Chanderpaul added 59 runs for the fourth wicket. Immediately after lunch, Chanderpaul failed to properly negotiate a lethal short ball from Steyn and was taken on the glove. Wicketkeeper Mark Boucher easily pouched the ball which lobbed in the air and Chanderpaul was off for 26. The score was then 71 for 4.

Steyn then ran amuck. Six wickets fell within the space of four runs as the Windies folded like a cheap car slamming into a war tank at high speed. The score plummeted to 75 for 9 before a last wicket stand between Denesh Ramdin (25*) and Nelon Pascal (2) lifted the blundering Caribbean team to above a hundred.

Be warned that the details are gory. Eight of the batsmen were dismissed in single digits – three of those failed to trouble the scorers. Only three batsmen got into double figures and none managed to reach 30.

The innings lasted for 47.1 overs.

Two of the batsmen (Deonarine and Rampaul) were bowled like novices by Steyn as they shouldered arms to deliveries coming back into them. Benn was bowled as he was late on the shot having been beaten for pace. His off stump too was sent cartwheeling. Another three (Chanderpaul, Nash and Bravo) showed poor skill and aptitude against the short deliveries.

Nash will have a case for being counted as an possible exception. Though he did not look a picture of ease in getting out of the way of a Morkel short delivery, he did manage to do so, but the ball clipped his forearm on the way through to Boucher.

The on-field umpire Steve Davis correctly ruled it not out. The South Africans were unhappy with the call and requested the Umpire Decision Review System. Shockingly, despite repeated inconclusive replays, third umpire Simon Taufel reversed Davis’ decision and sent Nash on his way when he clearly should not have been.

Perhaps angered by the Nash dismissal, Captain Chris Gayle responded by looking to lash a ball too close to him for the shot and played on to his stumps. 12 for 3 was the score. Enter Chanderpaul and Deonarine but once they left it became 75 for 9 in the time it takes a mid fielder to create two raids on goal.

None of the Windies batsmen can complain that they were batting on a minefield of a pitch. The bowling was good, it must be admitted, high quality to be fair, but the batting was bungling and listless. It lacked commitment. They batted as if wanting to be somewhere else, perhaps at home taking in the football.

Steyn’s 14 overs cost 29 runs and he snapped up five wickets, the fourth of which was the 200th of his 39 match career. Morkel took 4 for 19 from 13 overs.

The West Indies were not asked to bat a second time despite being 250 runs in arrears. The decision by the South Africans can only be interpreted as them being merciful to Windies fans, not wanting the to experience back-to-back routs.

South Africa took the decision to bat instead and, by end of play, were 155 for 2 with Captain Graeme Smith eyeing a century on 79 and the veteran Jacques Kallis easing his was to 40. The details of their innings just add more pain to the Windies wounds. Smith hit seven fours and Kallis four along with a six. They have already put on 76 runs for the third wicket and the partnership has not yet ended. The ease with which they negotiated the bowlers leaves one to think that Windies will have to play the waiting game and hope for a declaration.

The South Africans enjoy an imposing lead of 405 runs with eight second innings wickets still in the shed. It is a position from which few teams manage to lose. Only incessant rain for two days can allow the Windies to escape with a draw. Such a scenario is as unlikely as North Korea trouncing Brazil 12-0 in the World Cup final. The South Africans have not lost a match on this tour of the Caribbean thus far. That is not set to change in the next day or two.

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