Windies presses toward victory

Another impressive day from the West Indies in the field set South Africa playing desperately for a draw, with 8 wickets in hand following-on and one day remaining. South Africa will start the fifth day of the first Test match with 85 runs on the board and facing a deficit of 270 runs on first innings.

Resuming on 130/6, the overnight partnership of Mark Boucher and Nicky Boje defied the West Indian seamers in the initial stages of the first session. The first wicket of the day inevitably came though, as Reon King bowled Boje (34) through the gate with one that nipped back in. Having set up the dismissal with deliveries seaming away previously, King fashioned the breakthrough to epitomize the general discipline of the West Indian attack.

In terms of discipline, the home team kept the ball on a steady line and length throughout the day’s play, bowling superbly to a plan of consistency and frustration of the opponent. The one point of criticism was the persistent call of noball, which accounted for 31 runs in South Africa’s first innings and 5 in the second.

After the demise of Boje, the West Indies chipped away at the remaining three wickets to dismiss South Africa for 188. The eighth man out was Makhaya Ntini (8) who was trapped in front by Daren Powell.

Boucher struggled for more than 30 deliveries to get his first run of the day and added few more to his overnight 32, caught at slip off Collins for 41. Andre Nel joined Charl Langeveldt, and the two put on 14 runs for the final wicket, but Deonarine prized his first Test match scalp as the former hit a full toss to short cover.

Made to follow on, South Africa survived a 3-over burst before lunch and came out in the afternoon session intent on contained and defensive play. Smith and de Villiers made special efforts to curb their typical aggressive enthusiasm and battle for the cause.

Not perturbed by the slow approach, the West Indies continued to bowl on the spot and tempt the batsmen into error on the placid pitch. Eventually the plan came to fruition, first with the dismissal of AB de Villiers (20). For the second time in the game the young man looked solid at the top of the innings, but was undone yet again by the inside edge of his bat. On this occasion he dragged a King delivery onto his stumps.

Immediately upon the dismissal, the umpires perplexingly called the covers onto the ground amidst what seemed like the absence of rain. Mere minutes after the process was started, the decision was reversed and play resumed before the West Indies players ever left the field.

Perhaps unsettled by the break, Jacques Rudolph almost imploded early in what proved an uncertain and turbulent contribution. Facing up to Deonarine’s offspin, the left-hander (on 0) nearly skied a catch to Reon King in the deep, who did not quite get to the ball in time.

In his debut Test match, Deonarine bowled well with good variation and later had Rudolph dropped by Devon Smith at slip. After talking down Rudolph for such seeming lapses in concentration, captain Graeme Smith perished to much of the same.

Smith was bowled through the gate driving at a reverse-swinging delivery from Collins, out for 34. The wicket provided a huge lift for the West Indies and the impressive crowd approaching the close.

New batsman Kallis tried to play positively, but struggled to place the ball past the fielders and ended on 1 off 43 balls when the batsmen went off for bad light. At the other end Rudolph survived a dropped chance by Ryan Hinds off his own bowling to be 19 not out.

Hinds failed to hang on to what would have been a tremendous return catch, diving full stretch to his right against a lofted full toss.

South Africa’s second innings approach was clearly reflected in the run rate, as it stood at 1.35 when Chanderpaul completed a maiden as what proved the final over of the day.

Score Summary:

West Indies 1st innings 543/5 dec. (152.1 overs)
WW Hinds 213, S Chanderpaul 203 not out, RO Hinds 48
A Nel 3/93, CK Langeveldt 1/65, N Boje 1/106

South Africa 1st innings 130/6 (37 overs)
AB de Villiers/MV Boucher 41, N Boje 34
PT Collins 3/39, RD King 3/48, DB Powell 3/61

South Africa 2nd innings (following on) 85/2 (63 overs)
GC Smith 34, AB de Villiers 20, JA Rudolph 19 not out
PT Collins 1/12, RD King 1/18

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