CMC – A memorable day for Kemar Roach, Joshua Da Silva, and Jermaine Blackwood turned bleak when West Indies failed to overcome another supine batting display and destructive pace bowling from Kagiso Rabada, and crashed to an 87-run defeat against South Africa in the first Test on Thursday.
Roach ended with five for 47 from 10 overs, and wicketkeeper Da Silva held a record-equalling seven catches, and the Caribbean side dismissed the South Africans for 116 in their second innings about 15 minutes before lunch on the third day of the contest at SuperSport Park, setting the visitors 247 to win.
Blackwood made the top score of 79, but he was the only West Indies batsman that batted with any purpose and to reach 20 before they collapsed to 159 all out about 50 minutes to the close in the face of an impressive spell of six for 50 in 15 overs from Rabada.
Coincidentally, the result was formalised when Roach was lbw to Rabada for 12, giving the Proteas a 1-0 lead in the two-Test series, which concludes with the second Test scheduled to start next Wednesday at the Wanderers in Johannesburg.
On a pitch of variable bounce, where 16 wickets fell for the second day in a row, West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite still bemoaned the application of the batsmen on his side to the task and appealed for greater awareness.
“As a batting unit, only batting just over 100 overs (collectively) in both innings, I think that was where we missed out,” Brathwaite said in a post-play TV interview.
I think the first innings especially, we were obviously going good, and we should have batted at least 90 overs in the first innings and that would have put us in a way better position.”
He added: “As batters, we have to improve. The bowlers got 20 wickets, but we (the batters) just have to come better in the next game… Between games, there’s not much we can do (technically), but we will have practice sessions, we will have some nets, and we will face some bowlers.
“But I just think that mentally, when you get in, you have got to find ways and know which ball you want to score off and which ball you want to leave.”
Brathwaite continued: “We would have seen some wide balls getting batsmen out. We just gotta be more precise. We just gotta be clear about which balls we are going to play and which balls we want to leave – it’s a mental thing.
The Caribbean side had a hint that it was going to be a struggle after they dismissed South Africa and were forced to face one over before lunch, and Brathwaite was caught behind down the leg-side for a duk off the third ball of the chase from Rabada.
The match was genuinely over inside the first hour after the interval when West Indies slumped to 33 for five.
Left-hander Raymon Reifer batted resolutely in the first innings to hold things together with a half-century, but he drove loosely once too often, and edged Rabada to the keeper for eight in the sixth over after lunch.
Three overs later, beanpole left-arm pacer Marco Jansen invariably delivered the knockout punch off successive balls to leave the chase of the visitors woozy when he got Tagenarine Chanderpaul caught at mid-wicket from a miscued pull, and bowled Roston Chase for a duck next ball.
Left-hander Kyle Mayers appeared to try to curb his natural instincts and laboured over 15 balls before he was caught at first slip off debutant pacer Gerald Coetzee for the third duck in the top order.
The response to the crisis from Blackwood, whose 93-ball innings in a little over 2-1/2 hours included 12 fours and one six, was to play with typical aggression, and he put on 58 for the sixth wicket with Da Silva, ensuring West Indies were not going to be rolled over for any record low total.
Blackwood brought up his 50 from 51 balls when he lofted pacer Anrich Nortje over mid-on for his eighth four, but the resistance from Da Silva ended in the next over when he was caught at third slip off Rabada, driving loosely, and the Caribbean side sunk to 93 for six at tea.
After the break, the outcome became inevitable when Jason Holder was caught behind off Rabada for 18 after he and Blackwood carried West Indies past 100 with a tidy stand of 37 for the seventh wicket.
Earlier, Roach ended with five wickets in an innings outside of the Caribbean for only the third time, and Da Silva joined a famous crowd on top of the list for most catches by a ’keeper in an innings before South Africa were bowled out after they resumed from their overnight total of 49 for four.
Da Silva’s work behind the stumps in the South African second innings put him alongside Wasim Bari of Pakistan, Bob Taylor of England, Ian Smith of New Zealand, and former West Indies gloveman Ridley Jacobs.
Holder ended with two for seven in a miserly seven-over spell, and fellow pacer Alzarri Joseph finished with two for 30 from eight overs, but opener Aiden Markram, a century-maker in the first innings, again led the way for the hosts with 47 and was the hosts’ only batsman to score more than 20.
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