SA fightback against WI
28 Dec 2007
By: Paul Wood
West Indies remain just about in control of South Africa in the opening Test despite being restricted to 146-8 in their second innings, a lead of 359, that should realistically be out of South Africa's reach.
Dwayne Bravo removed any hopes of a South African batting revival this morning picking up the wickets of AB De Villiers, Paul Harris, Andre Nel and Dale Steyn with the hosts being bowled out for 195 on a track that is still offering more than a little assistance for the bowlers.
West Indies captain Chris Gayle opted not to enforce the follow on and instead chose to build on their first innings lead and give their seamers a chance to relax and galvanise their energy for a full onslaught at some point on day four when the track may have deteriorated some more.
AB De Villiers stood in their way of an even larger advantage as he remained unusually watchful and patient in accumulating his 59 runs, which came off 127 deliveries. Along the way he found support, mainly in a survival style, from Paul Harris who only made nine runs but lasted 100 minutes in a seventh wicket partnership of 43, before De Villiers was bowled by the impressive Bravo.
A brief cameo from Andre Nel was not enough to raise South Africa's total to respectability as they surrendered a 213 run disadvantage after the first innings.
A gutsy comeback was on the cards for South Africa after they refused to let their heads drop and accept the inevitable and even managed to remove Shiv Chanderpaul early and bring to an end his fantastic sequence of scores.
Gayle once again blazed away at the top of the innings seemingly reaching 29 in no time before Makhaya Ntini slanted one across him that found the outside edge.
The first ball from Jacques Kallis produced their second wicket, Runako Morton perhaps awaiting a gentle away swinger, was caught on the crease in front of his stumps as Kallis got one to offer a hint of inswing to remove Morton lbw.
Daren Ganga and Marlon Samuels hung around for a patient partnership of 65 before Ganga ambled for what should have been an easy single but for the lively Herschelle Gibbs who threw down the stumps at the non-strikers end.
Wickets continued to fall till the close of play and excellent resilience from the home side ensured the West Indies were not to have the whole Test their own way. Dale Steyn finished the day with figures of 3-53 while Harris showed what is capable on this track with a decent spinner, he has 2-20 off his 13 overs so far.
But with a lead already of 359 the chances of a South African victory or a drawn game must remain exceptionally slim.