Antigua Test ends in farce

South Africa’s Test series in the West Indies ended in shambolic fashion at the Antigua Recreation Ground, St John’s, as batting records fell and South Africa used a full complement of eleven bowlers in the West Indians’ mammoth innings.

The West Indies, overnight 565 for 5, added precisely 100 more on the final morning before the first wicket came as Shaun Pollock jolted all present at the ground from their daydreams as a direct hit from mid-on caught Shivnarine Chanderpaul, the seventh centurion of the match, out of his ground before Courtney Browne followed without scoring as Graeme Smith, well into a marathon bowling effort, rapped him on the toe in front of the wickets.

Nonetheless, Dwayne Bravo had his sights on century number eight, and a place in the history books for one of least worthwhile Test matches of all time whilst South Africa took bowler-rotation to an extreme not seen since India played at the ARG three years ago, and used all eleven bowlers in the innings.

It was AB de Villiers who picked up the next two wickets to fall, yorking Daren Powell with the West Indian score on a round 700. A Tino Best smear off the same bowler found Herschelle Gibbs at midwicket, and the West Indies were on the rack at 712 for 9, with Bravo’s place in the record books under threat. Or more accurately, Bravo’s place would have been under threat should the South Africans have been even slightly concerned about the match.

With Nicky Boje sitting out having complained of irregular breathing at tea yesterday – and now withdrawn from the ODI series – South Africa’s part timers shared 77 overs between them and as Bravo recorded his maiden Test century, Graeme Smith tired of his own 43-over spell and turned to Boeta Dippenaar, Herschelle Gibbs and wicketkeeper Mark Boucher, for the fourth and fifth overs of his first-class career.

As farce generally begets further farce, it was Boucher who removed Bravo – who, unable to resist the lure of a juicy long hop, smeared the ball straight to the flabbergasted Ashwell Prince at cover, leaving Boucher’s Test bowling average at six, and the hosts skittled for 747.

With eight centuries already recorded, de Villiers made an effort to record a ninth as he took Tino Best’s first three balls for boundaries before skying his fourth to Dwight Washington at mid-on. Smith and Dippenaar then both completed half-centuries as the West Indies used eight bowlers in 31 aimless overs before the Test – and Series – was put out of its misery.

South Africa 588-6
Jacques Kallis 147, Ashwell Prince 131, Graeme Smith 126, AB de Villiers 114
Daren Powell 2-137, Chris Gayle 1-65

West Indies 747
Chris Gayle 317, Ramnaresh Sarwan 127, Shivnarine Chanderpaul 127, Dwayne Bravo 107
Monde Zondeki 3-120, AB de Villiers 2-49

South Africa 127-1
Boeta Dippenaar 56*, Graeme Smith 50*
Tino Best 1-31

Match Drawn

South Africa win the Series 2-0

CricketWeb Player of the Match
Chris Gayle (West Indies) – 317

CricketWeb Player of the Series
Andre Nel (South Africa) – 17 wickets @ 17.29

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