South Africa wins the 3rd test against West Indies; continue as no 1 Test team
Updated - Jan 6, 2015 7:06 pm
South Africa wins the 3rd test against West Indies; continue as no 1 Test team: South Africa have been the test team of the year 2014-15, they have travelled almost a full circle around the globe and beaten teams at home and overseas. And if the year goes by as it promises their dominance and rule in Test cricket will continue as they beat the West Indies in the 3rd and last test of the ongoing series to clinch the 3 Test match series 2-0.
Though the score line suggests West Indies have been far but competitive, reality differs as the Caribbean team has lost out on match winnings moments to conceive the series than be comprehensively beaten. At the same time taking nothing away from the all professional South African team who have not let the game slip away for a second from their grabs and thus this has ended as yet another series in their favor.
1st Test went completely South Africa’s way:
The first test at the Centurion was South Africa’s way the moment their batsmen piled on 552 runs for the loss of 5 wickets in the first innings in the 140.3 overs that they batted and declared their innings. This gave their bowlers 3 days fragmented into 9 sessions to bowl West Indies out twice.
If Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Vernon Philander form the pace bowling attack 9 sessions are more than enough to clean up an opponent as good as the West Indies. After a good start of 72 for the first wickets the visitors never got the things back into position from where they could even manage to score the follow on runs. 201 was all they could manage in their first innings the top scorer being opener Smith with 35. For a change Steyn went wicket less and the 10 were distributed among Philander, Abbott, Morkel and part-timer Elgar.
The second innings, playing follow on the South African pace battery never let West Indies batsmen settle down and the wickets kept on tumbling from 8-1 to 131-9. The tenth batsman Kemar Roach did not come into bat due to an injury. Steyn compensated the empty brackets in the first with a six wickets haul in the second and the other three were shared between Morkel and Philander in 2:1.
For the way they batted West Indies deserved to lose the match and so did they as South Africa took the 1-0 lead with win by an innings and 220 runs.
The 2nd test at Port Elizabeth:
The second test at the Port Elizabeth and the best chance for West Indies to keep the series alive started on a positive note as skipper Ramdin won the toss and chose to bowl first. Aiming to restrict the hosts to something moderate and take the advantage of the wicket went in vain as opener Elgar stuck to the task and scored his maiden test ton making a well-constructed 122 off 330 balls. The knock meant equally important to the team and individual as it restructures his test career as well. Another test hundred for Faf du Plesis (103 off 335 balls) set the game up for them. A late charge and a rare spunk from Dale Steyn who recorded the fourth fastest test half-century and returned with 58 runs to his name took South Africa’s first Innings total to 417.
West Indies had to bat out well and out of skin to avoid another win and so did they, responding exceptionally well to the call Brathwaite and Samuels scored strong hundreds with 106 and 101 respectively despite of a complete flop show from the rest meant the West Indies were still far away from a convincing performance. What brought fortune to them were the clouds as there could be no play on the decisive 5th day of the test match and it ended in a draw.
Centurion Test Match:
The third and the final test match at the Centurion was the only hope West Indies had of equaling the series now and once again the visiting skipper got luck at the toss; and this time he took the call of batting first. It was not going to be easy for the average Windies batsmen to stay put against the hostile Proteas pacers. They did well to an extent getting 329 on board with the help of three half centuries from Johnson, Blackwood and Ramdin and a couple of 40’s from Smith and Chanderpaul. Steyn was once again the pick of the bowlers dismissing 4 opponents while the other 5 shared 6 wickets.
South Africa would have loved to bat West Indies out of the game; they partially managed that but 421 meant they had to bat again with the lead being under hundred. AB de Villiers was exceptional with the bat and got the innings together which was otherwise filled with starts and flops. De Villiers scored 148, while du Plesis and Amla hit 68 and 63 respectively.
In their second innings it was do and die for the West Indies, they had the game in front of them a strong reply would have ensured them a challenging score for their bowlers to defend. All they could manage was 215, giving South Africa a target of 124 to win and apart from the drama that came around when Sulieman Benn got a couple early on in the innings as Benn dismissed Petersen for a duck at the end of day 4.
The last day began cautiously for South Africa as the opposition bowlers had worked out a plan and executed it to perfection giving away nothing to the batsmen and du Plesis in particular took 28 balls to get off the mark. The way the bowlers shaped up on the last day gave a feeling that had the 124 been something around 250, they could have well-made South African batsmen hop around.
Victory which looked certain came about when Elgar and Amla constructed a strong partnership together, minimizing the risk and grabbing the opportunities coming forth. 60* for Elgar and 38* for skipper Amla got South Africa to an 8 wickets victory in the final test match and thus claiming the series 2-0. By that the Proteas also stamping authority on the number 1 test ranking that they have won and maintained.