Wednesday, April 24, 2024

WI on the brink


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ANOTHER STAIN was blotted on the sorrowful state of West Indies cricket by South African fast bowler Dale Steyn and off-spinner Johan Botha at Kensington Oval yesterday.The pair left Chris Gayle’s side facing yet another defeat at the hands of South Africa, despite a typical face-saving unbeaten knock from Shivnarine Chanderpaul, to follow career-best bowling figures of 46.4-13-81-6 by lanky left-arm spinner Sulieman Benn.The woeful Windies closed the third day of the third and final Digicel Test on 134 for seven in their second innings, a mere 19 runs on in setting a victory target for South Africa, who lead the three-match series 1-0.Chanderpaul is not out on a defiant 57, which has already spanned 271 minutes and 155 balls with six fours.That the match will enter a fourth day was largely due to a 53-run seventh-wicket stand between Chanderpaul, who moved to 45 runs short of 9 000 Test runs, and rookie off-spinner Shane Shillingford, after the West Indies had slumped to 75 for six.Earlier, Benn’s third five-wicket or more innings haul in the Windies’ last five Tests, limited South Africa’s first innings lead to 115 with Ashwell Prince remaining unbeaten on a painstaking 78 (370 minutes, 262 balls, 5×4) as South Africa extended their overnight 285 for six to 346, replying to their opponents’ first innings effort of 231.But Benn’s effort was swiftly nullified when Steyn ripped out the first three West Indian batsmen – Dale Richards (17), Narsingh Deonarine (0) and Chris Gayle (10) – in a fiery five-over newball spell before Botha got into the act.Showed gritBotha supported admirably, removing Brendan Nash (12) and Denesh Ramdin (1) in consecutive overs after tea and added the scalp of Shillingford, who showed grit and determination in making 25 off 77 balls in 99 minutes with two fours and a six.Left-arm spinner Paul Harris weighed in with the wicket of Dwayne Bravo for two.“It is a difficult wicket to bat on. The spinners have been bowling most of the time in the rough and it is always difficult to bat, but we got to keep fighting because we don’t know what is going to happen on that wicket,” Chanderpaul said.“One or two may bounce, turn, keep low so you don’t know, so you just got to keep fighting,” he added. “If we get a lead over 100, anything is possible on that wicket there. If we bowl well and field well, we will probably win the game.“But we have to make sure we take whatever we can get out there. We can’t be bogged down. If you get bogged down, you get out . . . we got to make sure we keep putting runs on the board and whatever we get, we will have to work with,” Chanderpaul said.The West Indies started their second innings as if it was a Twenty20 match with the first three overs producing 27 runs. Richards cut and steered Steyn for boundaries in his first over and added two more fours in his next over, but on 17, mistimed a pull off the same bowler for Aliviro Petersen to hold a tumbling catch inside the square leg boundary.Deonarine didn’t try to settle and drove the first ball he faced straight to Prince, who was specifically positioned at extra-cover.Gayle then groped at a delivery from Steyn, which lifted and swung back and edged to Boucher as he tried to take the bat away. It was 36 for three at that stage and a three-day defeat looked a possibility.Left-handers Chanderpaul and Nash added 34 on either side of tea in 18 overs before Botha found the edge of Nash’s bat for Kallis to take a simple slip catch. Harris then took his first wicket of the match as Bravo chopped the ball onto his stumps after making just two.Ramdin’s batting woes continued when he edged his favourite cut shot into Boucher’s gloves off Botha. Chanderpaul, however, found a useful ally in Shillingford, who raised the 50 partnership with a straight six off Harris before he was undone by a ball from Botha which straightened and trapped him in front.Earlier, Prince got a slice of good fortune after adding only four to his overnight score when he attempted a reverse sweep at Benn and the ball hit his glove as it lobbed to Bravo at slip. The West Indies fielders were clearly shocked when umpire Simon Taufel turned down their appeal. Television replays confirmed the ball struck Prince’s glove, but the Windies had exhausted their referrals.Muffed chanceWest Indies also muffed a chance to run out Boucher in Benn’s next over when wicketkeeper Ramdin failed to gather a return from Kemar Roach at mid-on with the batsman almost three metres out of his crease.But Ramdin made amends, cleanly catching Brandon Bess’ throw from mid-on and whipping off the bails to run out Boucher for 17 after a mid-pitch collision with Prince.The dismissal of Steyn, bowled by Roach, led to an unsportsmanlike reaction as Steyn appeared to spit in the vicinity of Benn, who was congratulating the bowler while leaving the field.Afterwards, a clearly upset Benn had an extended discussion with the on-field umpires Taufel and Steve Davis.Benn trapped Botha leg-before-wicket on the back foot for his fifth wicket as South Africa went to tea on 342 for nine. On resumption, Benn quickly removed last man Morne Morkel for nine to reach 50 wickets in his 15th Test.
West Indies 1st innings 231South Africa 1st innings (overnight 285-6)*G. Smith c Richards b Benn     70A. Petersen c Chanderpaul b Roach     1H. Amla c Nash b Benn     5P. Harris c Gayle b Bess     11J. Kallis b Benn     43A. deVilliers c wk Ramdin b Benn     73A. Prince not out     78+M. Boucher run out     17J. Botha lbw b Benn     9D. Steyn b Roach     4M. Morkel c Bravo b Benn    9Extras (b5, lb6, nb8, w7)     26TOTAL (all out  – 134.4 overs)     346Fall of wickets: 1-17 (Petersen), 2-41 (Amla), 3-60 (Harris), 4-122 (Smith), 5-145 (Kallis), 6-279 (de Villiers), 7-312 (Boucher), 8-326 (Botha), 9-333 (Steyn), 10-346 (Morkel).Bowling: Roach 25-6-59-2 (nb1, w3), Bess 9-0-65-1 (nb7, w3), Shillingford 25-2-85-0, Benn 46.4-13-81-6, Bravo 27-12-43-0 (w1), Gayle 2-1-2-0. West Indies 2nd innings*C. Gayle c wk Boucher b Steyn     10D. Richards c Petersen b Steyn     17N. Deonarine c Prince b Steyn     0S. Chanderpaul not out     57B. Nash c Kallis b Botha     12Dwayne Bravo b Harris     2+D. Ramdin c wk Boucher b Botha     1S. Shillingford lbw b Botha     25Extras (b1, lb1, w1, nb3)     6TOTAL (7 wickets – 57 overs)     134Fall of wickets: 1-27 (Richards), 2-27 (Deonarine), 3-36 (Gayle), 4-70 (Nash), 5-74 (Bravo), 6-75 (Ramdin), 7-128 (Shillingford).To Bat: K. Roach, B. Bess.Bowling: Steyn 9-3-31-3, Morkel 10-4-23-0, Harris 16-3-34-1, Botha 18-5-34-3, Kallis 4-0-10-0 (nb1, w1).Position: West Indies are 19 runs on with three wickets in hand.Umpires: Simon Taufel, Steve Davis. TV umpire: Asad Rauf; Reserve: Clyde Duncan.Match referee: Jeff Crowe.

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