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Ntini fireworks condemn Windies
12 Apr 2005
By: Neil Pickup

A Trinidadian morning that dawned full of trenchant hope for the West Indians rapidly became an afternoon overcast and under the shadows of despair, as Makhaya Ntini recorded career-best innings and national record match figures to devastate the home side's lower order - and with it, their chances of saving the game.

The hosts, with Ramnaresh Sarwan and Dwayne Bravo in harness, began the fifth morning's play in the same resolute fashion in which they had finished on the fourth evening, before Sarwan met Andre Nel's fifth new-ball offering with the full face of his bat, bringing up his seventh Test century past mid-off.

Ntini then took possession of the over-old ball, and the destruction promptly began three deliveries in. Dwayne Bravo fenced at a back-of-a-length delivery that left him to provide Mark Boucher with a regulation chance, whilst the very next ball shot along the ground into Courtney Browne's pads, further enhancing the increasingly demonic nature of the wicket in the minds of the home batsmen.

Browne was reprieved by the direction, but Ntini was to repeat the dosage in his very next over, gaining the desired result from the paceman's perspective. Sarwan stood in grave danger of being stranded as his tail collapsed around him, but still allowed Daren Powell to take a single off Ntini and retain the strike for Andre Nel.

That decision, questionable at the time, was proven to be in error an over later as Ntini's junior partner joined in the demolition effort, Jacques Kallis holding the outside edge at second slip, before a brace of yorkers from Ntini completed the Windies' abruptly terminated innings. Pedro Collins and Reon King both lost their off stumps either side of a slashed boundary, past gully off Sarwan's blade.

In the space of eight and a half overs, the West Indies had lost five wickets for only fourteen runs and their position of semi-respectability had become one of relative embarrassment, setting the South Africans 144 to win in 76 overs.

Ntini's innings figures, 7 for 37, were the best by a South African since Lance Klusener's match-winning 8 for 64 in Kolkata eight years ago, whilst his match analysis of 13 for 132 ties for 34th in the all time list, six places and 33 runs superior to his nearest compatriot, Hugh Tayfield, who bowled the South Africans to victory at the MCG over half a century ago.

Despite their capitulation, the West Indies nonetheless held thoughts of a fourth-innings inspiration, with early wickets or a strangled run rate at the top of Shivnarine Chanderpaul's wish list. AB de Villiers sitting on 26* after three overs, with Daren Powell cut and pulled out of the attack, was somewhere particularly close to last.

Five boundaries from fourteen balls combined to knock even further hope from the West Indian fieldsmen, and despite de Villiers' murderous intent relenting, the visitors eased to lunch with the target easing below a hundred. Rubbing salt into the home wounds, three figures became two when Reon King rearranged de Villiers' stumps, only for a no-ball to be called.

As if that was not enough suffering for the bowler, Graeme Smith looped a short ball to Lara at square leg three overs after the resumption, only to be again denied by the umpire's call. Whilst de Villiers finally fell, bowled by Daren Powell, two runs after his captain - caught at first slip by Chris Gayle, driving at Dwayne Bravo, the target was by now merely twenty-five.

Jacques Kallis struck a trio of boundaries either side of the tea interval to apply the finishing touches to the South African victory and ensure a 1-0 lead in the series, with two Tests remaining. The tourists stay in Trinidad for another five days, taking on a University of the West Indies Vice-Chancellor's XI at the weekend, before departing for Barbados - where the West Indies must win to retain any hope of a series triumph.

There is serious work to be done on discipline, however, both in terms of the bowlers' front feet and all of the batsmen's feet, if the hosts are to convert hope into anything more concrete.

West Indies 347
Brian Lara 196, Shivnarine Chanderpaul 35
Makhaya Ntini 6-95, Andre Nel 3-71

South Africa 398
Graeme Smith 148, Ashwell Prince 45
Chris Gayle 4-50, Pedro Collins 2-78

West Indies 194
Ramnaresh Sarwan 107*, Dwayne Bravo 33
Makhaya Ntini 7-37, Nicky Boje 2-37

South Africa 146-2
AB de Villiers 62, Graeme Smith 41
Daren Powell 1-27, Dwayne Bravo 1-27

South Africa won by 8 wickets

South Africa lead the 4-Test series 1-0 with 2 Tests remaining

CricketWeb Player of the Match
Makhaya Ntini (South Africa) - 6-95 and 7-37

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