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Proteas bowlers too hot to handle

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The intensity of South Africa’s fast bowlers once again proved too much for the West Indies batsmen to handle as the tourists grabbed control of the second Test.

Lungi Ngidi and the rest of the Proteas bowlers has put the South Africa in a strong position in the second Test against the West Indies. Picture: West Indies Cricket.

The intensity of South Africa’s fast bowlers once again proved too much for the West Indies batsmen to handle as the tourists grabbed control of the second Test.

Day 2 of 5

South Africa 298

West Indies 149

JOHANNESBURG – The intensity of South Africa’s fast bowlers once again proved too much for the West Indies batsmen to handle on Saturday as the tourists grabbed control of the second Test at the Daren Sammy Cricket Ground.

Although they kept South Africa’s first innings total below the psychologically significant 300-run mark, the West Indies were unable to make a significant impact with the bat.

Given they have to win to tie the series, the home team will need their bowlers to get them back in the contest, by bowling out the South Africans cheaply the second time around, and then hope that the Proteas’ bowlers slip from the high standards they have maintained thus far in the series.

That however seems unlikely.

South Africa will look to build on a 149-run lead when they bat again on Sunday, and will also look to take as much time out of the match, and hope the pitch will deteriorate, before the West Indies bat again.

The hosts were put on the back foot immediately, losing skipper Kraigg Brathwaite to the first delivery of the innings, when television replays showed his glove had touched the ball as he tried to fend off a ‘rib tickler’ from Kagiso Rabada.

South Africa’s bowling initially was perhaps not as accurate as they would have liked, but they put enough balls in the right places to get wickets.

Lungi Ngidi had a difficult start, but got one delivery to seam back into the left handed Kieran Powell trapping him lbw, while Anrich Nortjé got Roston Chase to misjudge a slick off the hips to Kyle Verreynne at deep short leg.

The West Indies slumped to to 54/4 when Kyle Mayers drove loosely at Keshav Maharaj, and edged the ball to Aiden Markram at first slip.

Thereafter, Shai Hope, doing his best to curb his natural attacking instincts and Jermaine Blackwood, kept the South Africans at bay. It was by no means easy. All three of South Africa’s quicks improved their lengths, Ngidi doing so in between battling a stomach bug.

It was his relentless angling of the ball into Hope, that eventually brought the South Africans reward after a 43-run fifth wicket stand had started to raise the home side’s expectations. Hope got into an awful tangle, getting an inside edge onto his stumps and was bowled for 43.

South Africa’s captain Dean Elgar, immediately replaced Ngidi with Rabada, and in a spell of high quality fast bowling, the Proteas’ spearhead dissected the former West Indies captain, Jason Holder’s technique outside the off-stump.

While Holder drove elegantly through the covers on occasion, he never had control over proceedings, and eventually edged a drive to Keegan Petersen in the gully.

Blackwood finished as the West Indies’ top scorer making 49, and he was last man out to give Maharaj a second wicket. Wiaan Mulder mopped up the tail finishing with 3/1 in four overs, but he will know it was the trio of quicks who did the main psychological damage up front. Rabada and Ngidi finished with two wickets apiece, while Nortjé picked up one.

Quinton de Kock’s 96, which came off 162 balls, included eight fours and was another invaluable contribution that underlined his terrific skill. Picture: West Indies Cricket

Earlier Quinton de Kock fell four runs short of his second hundred in the series, as the West Indies fought back well late in the first session.

De Kock had looked like he was setting himself up for an assault similar to the one he dished out in the first Test, but succumbed to Kyle Mayers medium pace just before lunch. His 96, which came off 162 balls, included eight fours and was another invaluable contribution that underlined his terrific skill.

South Africa’s innings, which lasted 112 overs with the scoring rate never going above three runs an over, fitted with the side’s new ethos, about not concerning themselves with scoring runs, but to stay at the crease.

The Proteas recovered from a difficult position at 37/3 in the first session on Friday, something the West Indies failed to do when they found themselves in early trouble on Saturday. At stumps on Saturday, South Africa’s slow and steady approach, seemed to be winning the race.

@shockerhess

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