By Sean Devers in Barbados
In association with Caribbean Airlines
Despite a fiery burst from fast bowler Kemar Roach, South Africa inflected a crushing 7-wicket win over the West Indies on the penultimate day of the 3rd and final Test at the Kensington Oval yesterday to take the series 2-nil.
Set 47 to win after West Indies were bowled out for 161, South Africa lost Skipper Graeme Smith (10), Alviro Petersen (6) and Hasim Amla (25) to a ‘pumped up’ Roach before the visitors reached 49-3, twenty-five minutes before lunch.
Shivnarine Chanderpaul said on Monday evening that if the West Indies could get a three-figure lead, South Africa would have to work hard on a pitch getting more difficult for batting to win the match.
The 35-year-old Chanderpaul, a veteran of 16 years at this level, also said that putting runs on the board would be important when the Regional team resumed their innings yesterday.
Chanderpaul, with more Test runs than any West Indian except Brian Lara, began the day on 57 with his team on 134-7, enjoying a slim lead of 19.
With just the bowlers to bat with him, it was always going to be difficult for the West Indies to put quick runs on the board before they were dismissed since unlike Lara, Chanderpaul, who has the most not outs in Tests among top order batsmen, is more suited to preserving his wicket than destroying the opposition when batting with the tail.
Chanderpaul eventually notched up his 34th unbeaten Test score as he finished 29 short of his 23rd test hundred, 6th against South Africa and 2nd in this series as the West Indies lost their last three wickets in 37 minutes yesterday.
Suleiman Benn (9), Roach (8) and Brandon Bess (0) were all blown away by Morne Morkel to leave South Africa over a day and two sessions to win the series.
With Debutant Bess at the crease, Chanderpaul made no genuine effort to keep the strike off the last two balls from Dale Steyn’s over and not surprisingly, Bess was sent packing off the first ball of the next over as he edged Morkel to slip.
South Africa began their run chase in positive fashion before Smith pulled Roach to short mid-wicket at 14-1 and when Alviro Petersen (6) was bowled by a hostile Roach at 29-2, a ‘pumped up’ Roach was reminding the handful of fans present, of older battles between West Indies pacers and opposition batsmen, at a venue where West Indies did not lose a Test between 1948 and 1993 but have won just one (2005 vs Pakistan) in their last 8 matches here.
Roach struck Jacques Kallis with a nasty bouncer to spark a heated verbal confrontation between Roach and Kallis as the Bajan pacer showed plenty of pace and aggression, even as Bess bowled the ball ‘all over the place’ from the other end in his 4 over spell, which cost 27 runs.
But Roach’s effort was too little too late for the West Indies, still unable to win a series against South Africa since their inaugural Test series in 1992.
Roach finished with 3-22 from 4.4 overs and his spell yesterday sparked the question of what could have been had Jerome Taylor and Fidel Edwards been fit and the pitch fast and bouncy.
Off-spinner Johan Botha, who did not play in the first two Tests in Trinidad and St Kitts, was adjudged the Man-of-the-Match for his 7 wickets while Steyn, who tormented the Caribbean batsmen with his speed, was the Man-of-the-Series.
The West Indies players should be involved the Regional 20/20 tournament which starts here on July 22 before the West Indies head to Sri Lanka in November for the 3-Test and 5 ODI series.
Skipper Chris Gayle said the first innings total wasn’t good enough. “We batted poorly and it put us in the back foot. There were a few injuries here and there and that put us back. Chanderpaul batted very well but credit must go to them (SA),” Gayle said.
“There is a high performance centre here and I hope some youngsters will come through. It has been very disappointing how we have played this series. It’s tough as a captain. You think you are going to support from a particular person but you find out you are not getting that support,” the Jamaican continued without calling a name.
Steyn, who took 15 wickets in the series, said there was a little more bounce in Barbados than in Trinidad and St Kitts.
“I have been on the road for 5 months now and really looking forward to going back home. Morne has been fantastic. He came out and bowled well against England. He did it here was well. I am very glad we have another guy firing. The body has held up well. Hope it holds up in the streets of Barbados (last night) tonight!” Steyn added.
Smith said that it was a terrific tour for the visitors. “You can’t argue with our results on this tour. We asked each other to step it up after the show in the T20 World Cup. The Test side has been successful for a very long time. It was great to have options in Botha here. There were a few left-handers and he bowled well.” the captain said.
Scores: South Africa
346 (Prince 78*, de Villiers 73, Benn 6-81) and 49 for 3 (Amla 27*, Roach 3-22) beat West Indies 231 (Bravo 61, Botha 4-56, Steyn 3-37) and 161 (Chanderpaul 71*, Morkel 3-33, Steyn 3-36) by seven wickets.
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