Windies crash to 163-run defeat in 4 days
By Sean Devers in Trinidad
In association with Igloo Ice Cream & Ultra Water, Camp Street
The West Indies struggles continued as the Regional side were crushed by 163 runs yesterday inside four days of their rain-hit first Digicel Test against South Africa at the Queens Park Oval as the visitors took a 1-nil lead in the 3-match series.
Set 457 to win in 78 overs yesterday and the entire today, West Indies, realistically batting for a draw, were bowled out for 293 in their second innings with 2.3 overs left on the penultimate day. First innings destroyers Morne Morkel (2-49) and Dale Steyn (3-65) were again among the wickets.
Pugnacious Skipper Chris Gayle top-scored with a confident 106-ball 73, decorated with 9 fours and a six and dominated a 55-run 3rd wicket stand with Shivnarine Chanderpaul (15) after Travis Dowlin (1) and Brendon Nash (13) again fell cheaply.
Dwayne Bravo hit two straight sixes off left-arm spinner Paul Harris in 49 but none of the other middle-order batsmen reached 25 although the bowlers provided resistance towards the end with entertaining batting.
Left-arm spinner Suleiman Benn (42), who passed his highest Test score of 35, pulled Kallis for three consecutive fours and shared a 66-run 8th wicket partnership with Shillingford (27), who smashed Harris over mid-off for four and smacked Kallis over long-off for six to post the 250 before they were both dismissed just before the close.
Ravi Rampaul (18*) and Nelon Pascal, who was bowled by Steyn for 10 to give South Africa their 8th consecutive victory against the hosts on this tour, also reached double figures as the bowlers ensured the last four batsmen scored 97 runs between them in a losing cause.
South Africa, overnight on 155-2, batted 70 minutes yesterday to score just 51 runs before they declared 80 minutes before lunch at 206-4.
Skipper Graeme Smith, who resumed on 79, was bowled 10 short of his 21st Test ton by left-arm spinner Suleiman Benn who followed up his first innings 5-120 with 3-74.
South Africa began the day with a lead of 405 and lost overnight batsman Jacques Kallis (40) LBW to Benn at 157-3. The referral confirmed the on-field decision and a furious Kallis departed.
AB deVilliers and Smith batted carefully and when deVilliers turned Shane Shillingford for a single at 10:02hrs the visitors had increased their lead to 419, a total no team in the history of the game had ever chased to win.
At that stage ominous clouds were heading towards the Oval with Smith on 86 and the spinners not giving away much.
Smith’s decision not to declare or to take chances as he approached his century raised a few eyebrows. It was Benn who spoiled Smith’s plan by dismissing him at 181-4 and the visitors continued to bat.
West Indies chased down a world record 418 against Australia in 2003 in Antigua but this team has no Brian Lara or Ramnaresh Sarwan who played then and, on the evidence of their 7 consecutive defeats to South Africa and their first innings catastrophe here, it is difficult to imagine them getting over 400 to win.
Ashwell Prince (23) and deVilliers (12) ensured the lead reached 450 before the declaration was made.
West Indies again began badly when Dowlin (1) who looked out of his league in this game, was LBW to Morkel at 2-1.
Gayle, with a Test Triple hundred against South Africa, stroked Steyn down the ground and steered him for boundaries while Nash upper-cut Morkel for four. The small crowd was in the action when Gayle slashed Steyn for consecutive boundaries and the sound of Tassa drums and the sight of the dancing Digicel Girls provided some atmosphere.
A delightful cover driven boundary off Morkel by Nash, who was conceived in Jamaica but was born and grew up in Australia, was full of confidence and his mom was dancing in the RBTT Stand.
The West Indian joy did not last long as Nash (13) edged Steyn to the Keeper at 39-2 to bring Chanderpaul to the crease 29 minutes before lunch.
Gayle clobbered Morkel ‘miles’ over long-on for six and smashed him for four through cover in the same over and by the interval the hosts were 62-2 with Gayle 42 and Chanderpaul 6.
Gayle flicked Lonwabo Tsotsobe for four to reach his 32nd Test fifty and celebrated with a scrumptious square-driven boundary off Kallis but Chanderpaul soon edged Kallis to slip to end the resistance at 94-3.
Morkel had Gayle LBW at 114-4 while Deonarine, dropped at cover off Kallis before he had scored and Bravo, who seemed very lucky that a referral for a caught at bat/pad off Harris was given not out with him on 2, saw their team to 139-4 by tea.
After Tea, Deonarine (23) was LBW to Steyn at 152-5 before Bravo fell one short of his 12th fifty when he clipped Harris to short mid-wicket at 192-6 while two runs later Dinesh Ramdin (9) provided Tsotsobe with his first Test wicket before Benn fell to part-time spinner Alviro Petersen.
Harris, who struggled on a spinner’s track, removed Shillingford, who skied an almighty swing to cover, with 4 overs remaining, instead of trying to bat out the day and hope for a thunderstorm last night. His dismissal summed up the mental state of West Indies cricket.
It was all over when Steyn cleaned up Pascal but the match had been lost since the West Indies crumbled for 102 in their first innings.
The second Test starts in St Kitts on Friday Daren Bravo must surely now be in line for a Test debut after what transpired here.
Scores: South Africa
352 (Boucher 69, Benn 5-120) and 206 for 4 dec (Smith 90, Benn 3-74) beat West Indies 102 (Deonarine 29, Steyn 5-29) and 293 (Gayle 73, Steyn 3-65) by 163 runs.