Jermaine Blackwood, the Jamaican batsman, surpassing 2,000 Test runs and former West Indies skipper Jason Holder’s 50th Test catch were the sole highlights of a dismal heavy 2nd Test defeat to South Africa.
The West Indies were once again cruelly exposed by the tourists, this time outplayed in four days at the Darren Sammy Stadium in St.Lucia to lose the series 2-0 on Monday (22 June).
Going into this two-Test series the Windies were brimming with confidence following their recent displays. The fact that South Africa had tasted defeat in their past nine Test matches on their travels should have given the West Indies a boost.
Yet once again the hosts slipped up on the grand stage, and produced a pitiful performance that will raise questions because quite frankly it was a hotch-potch display unworthy of a West Indian squad.
Captain Kraigg Brathwaite had Kyle Mayers (3-28) and Kemar Roach (3-45) to thank for dismissing South Africa for 298, with an incredible 44 runs credited to extras.
The Barbados leader fared badly at the crease as he was bowled for a duck, with compatriot Shai Hope (43) and Jamaican middle order batsman Blackwood (49) the sole players to score more than a dozen runs as the West Indies were skittled out for a mere 149.
Mayers (3-24) and Roach (4-52) proved to be the only dangermen with the ball as South African capitulated to 174 all out, which was impressive as they stood at 73-7 after just 26.2 overs with their dogged determination guiding them to a respectable total.
On the fourth day of play the West Indies started the day at 15-0 in pursuit of a highly unlikely 324 for victory, with Brathwaite again failing with the bat as he sent back to the pavilion cheaply for six runs. Left-handed opener Kieran Powell was in superb form but, once the Nevisian was dismissed for 51 at 107-4, the match was as good as over.
Holder was out for a golden duck, as was Trinidadian wicketkeeper Joshua Da Silva, with Keshav Maharaj claiming a spectacular hat-trick (5-36).
The Barbados pair of Mayers (34) and Roach (27) shone at the wicket, but not quite to the same degree as they did with the ball. With the absence of their compatriot Roston Chase, who was unable to bat following injury, the hosts fell to 165-9 to suffer a second hefty defeat.
But it was not all doom and gloom. Blackwood’s dismissal in the 1st innings, off the final ball of the last over of an extended day, was clumsy. Having passed 2,000 Test runs, he stood one run shy of his half-century when he attempted to shoot left-arm spinner Maharaj’s delivery to the midwicket boundary. But the 29-year-old instead got a leading edge and skied his shot for captain Dean Elgar to easily catch, standing inches next to the bowler.
Trinidad teenager Jayden Seales, whose 1st innings wicket prevented Quinton de Kock (96) from hitting a century, managed another important capture in the 2nd innings.
The 19-year-old medium pacer accounted for Maharaj, who edged the ball to second slip Holder. He scooped it with a breathtaking full stretch dive to his right. Holder’s 30th Test catch in the slips, and 50th overall at this level, propelled the Barbadian all rounder to a select Test club of players in history to score over 2,000 runs, capture over 100 wickets and take 50 catches.
Since the Test series started between these two teams less than 23 years ago, the Windies have scraped together some poor Test innings totals aside from the historic one-off 1992 encounter in Barbados when the runs were flowing. What will really rile the West Indies, and no doubt their legions of fans, is the fact that South Africa started this Test series ranked below the hosts for the first time since that 1992 encounter.
The West Indies will introduce a different squad as they turn their attention to five Twenty20 Internationals at the National Cricket Stadium in Grenada (26 June-3 July), aiming to bounce from this bitter disappointment in order to restore the faith that the fans had in their resurgence.
WEST INDIES v SOUTH AFRICA SERIES
10 June | 1st Test (Daren Sammy National Cricket Stadium, St. Lucia)
SA beat WI by an innings and 63 runs
WI 97 all out & 162 all out; South Africa 322 all out
18 June | 2nd Test (Daren Sammy National Cricket Stadium, St. Lucia)
SA beat WI by 158 runs
WI 149 all out & 165-9; South Africa 298 all out & 174 all out
26 June | 1st T20I (National Cricket Stadium, Grenada)
27 June | 2nd T20I (National Cricket Stadium, Grenada)
29 June | 3rd T20I (National Cricket Stadium, Grenada)
1 July | 4th T20I (National Cricket Stadium, Grenada)
3 July | 5th T20I (National Cricket Stadium, Grenada)
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