“We are sorry!”

Those were the words of Captain Kraigg Brathwaite after the West Indies humiliating 158-run defeat to South Africa inside four days at the Darren Sammy Cricket Stadium in St Lucia on Monday.

The West Indies, resuming from their overnight score of 15 without loss in pursuit of 324, were bundled out for 165 thanks mainly to the bowling of left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj, who took 5-36, including a hat-trick that saw the home side slide from 104-3 to 104-6.

Kagiso Rabada was also among the wickets, taking 3-44 as the West Indies batting one man short, fell for 165.

Kieran Powell, who scored 51, Kyle Mayers 34 and Kemar Roach and Jermaine Blackwood, who scored 27 and 25, respectively got into double figures.

Brathwaite, who made scores of 0 and 6, laid the blame squarely at the feet of the batsmen, himself included, for the poor performance of the team who did not score more than 170 runs in any of their four innings. The batting was especially embarrassing coming off much better performances against Bangladesh in Bangladesh and the home series against Sri Lanka earlier this year.

In the first Test, the West Indies had scores of 97 and 162 and followed those weak scores with 149 and 165 in the second Test capitulation. Confronted with that reality in the post-match media conference, the disappointed captain could not hide from the truth.

“As batsmen, we know we went wrong. We didn’t bat well,” said Brathwaite, who revealed that they had planned to bat better and having consistent partnerships during the series against the South African bowling attack but said they have to come back better for the next series.

“We are very sorry. Obviously, the fans look forward to the West Indies doing well and we were disappointing,” he said.

“Sometimes it’s not about winning but you still want to see the fight and we didn’t show the fans that fight. Myself included, we have to come back better and make the fans proud.”

 

 

 

 

 

Keshav Maharaj claimed a sensational hat-trick as South Africa sealed a 2-0 Test series whitewash of West Indies with a 158-run victory on day four.

The Proteas secured their first series victory away from home in the longest format since 2017 on Monday, bowling the Windies out for 165 at the Daren Sammy National Cricket Stadium.

Set 324 to salvage a 1-1 draw, West Indies collapsed on the penultimate day in St. Lucia following a battling half-century from Kieran Powell (51).

Kagiso Rabada took 3-44 and Maharaj (5-36) became only the second South African to take a Test hat-trick in a sensational over just before lunch, with the tourists retaining the Sir Vivian Richards Trophy in the afternoon session.

Rabada reduced the Windies to 26-2 early in the day by removing Kraigg Brathwaite and Shai Hope, but Powell and Kyle Mayers showed defiance.

They put on 64 for the third wicket before Mayers (34) top-edged to Dean Elgar at second slip attempting to hook the rapid Rabada.

Spinner Maharaj then took centre stage, dismissing Powell, Jason Holder and Joshua Da Silva in the penultimate over before lunch to join the Test hat-trick club.

Jermaine Blackwood (25) and Kemar Roach (27) added 40 for the seventh wicket, but Maharaj finished off the Windies with his fifth wicket by getting Jayden Seales caught at deep square leg, with Roston Chase unable to bat due to a quad injury.

 

MAHARAJ MAGIC

Geoff Griffin was the only South African to take a hat-trick for South Africa against England at Lord's in 1960 before Maharaj worked his magic in the penultimate over of the morning session.

He had Powell taken by Anrich Nortje in the deep on the leg side and snared Holder before Da Silva was taken by Wiaan Mulder at leg slip, sparking jubilant scenes.

The left-arm tweaker put the icing on the cake by helping himself to a seventh five-wicket Test haul after lunch.

 

POWELL A PLUS FOR WINDIES

Opener Powell was recalled for this series after being left out in the international wilderness since 2018.

He made only 14 in the second innings of the first Test after being selected as a concussion substitute for Nkrumah Bonner and fell for only five in his first knock in this match.

Powell, 31, showed the sort of defiance West Indies have been lacking in a 116-ball knock, but there was an all-too familiar collapse after he departed.

South Africa tightened their grip on the second Test against West Indies as Rassie van der Dussen and Kagiso Rabada forged an unlikely sturdy batting alliance to get the tourists out of trouble.

At 73-7 in their second innings, South Africa's lead was 222, and there was the prospect of West Indies possibly chasing a target under 250 to win the game and tie the two-match series.

But Van der Dussen and Rabada combined to add 70 for the eighth wicket, with tail-ender Rabada racing to a Test-best 40, including a six off Kemar Roach. South Africa made it to 174 all out, setting a victory target of 324.

Van der Dussen finished unbeaten on 75, while in the course of the innings former West Indies captain Jason Holder became just the 15th man in Test history to reach 50 catches, 1,000 runs and 100 wickets in a career. He joined that club with a spectacular catch at second slip to see off Keshav Maharaj.

West Indies' batting fragility had been exposed by South Africa on Saturday, the second day of the match, when they were bowled out for 149, exactly half of the tourists' first-innings 298 total. It meant the hosts were on the back foot heading into day three, but they had South Africa rattled as the Proteas top order offered desperately little resistance.

The morning session was wiped out due to rain in St Lucia, but when play began at the Daren Sammy National Cricket Stadium, Roach was quick to make an impact, having openers Aiden Markram and Dean Elgar both caught cheaply at second slip by Jason Holder.

Keegan Petersen chopped Kyle Mayers' second ball of the innings into his stumps to fall for 18, and Kyle Verreynne, Quinton de Kock, Wiaan Mulder and Maharaj then contributed an aggregate 12 runs. 

Medium-pacer Mayers drew edges to get rid of Verreynne and Mulder and post figures of 3-19, before Van der Dussen and Rabada set about the rescue act.

They made batting look achievable, if not always easy, with Rabada the aggressor as he cracked five fours before lashing a ball of good length from Roach over long-on for six.

That saw him go past his Test-best of 34 not out, but his innings was soon over, Roach (4-52) taking his revenge as Rabada top-edged to Darren Bravo.

West Indies trundled to 15-0 in their second innings before fading light brought an end to play, still needing 309 more runs for victory.


Rabada revives flagging South Africa

Given West Indies' form with the bat in this short series, it was hard to imagine them successfully chasing anything above 200, but had they skittled their visitors for a double-figure total the energy behind such a performance might have inspired the home batsmen.

Rabada might not have fancied bowling at a team newly imbued with confidence, and he soon set about changing the complexion of the match, slapping away the ball to the boundary with gusto, particularly when he picked the moment to go deep off Roach.


Holder joins starry list

Holder became the latest man to reach the 50 catches, 1,000 runs and 100 wickets club, Cricinfo statistics showed.

The first to that all-round haul was England's Wilfred Rhodes, while the list includes the likes of luminaries Richie Benaud, Garfield Sobers, Ian Botham, Ben Stokes, Shane Warne, Anil Kumble and Jacques Kallis.

South Africa tightened their grip on the second Test against West Indies as Rassie van der Dussen and Kagiso Rabada forged an unlikely sturdy batting alliance to get the tourists out of trouble.

At 73-7 in their second innings, South Africa's lead was 222, and there was the prospect of West Indies possibly chasing a target under 250 to win the game and tie the two-match series.

But Van der Dussen and Rabada combined to add 70 for the eighth wicket, with tail-ender Rabada racing to a Test-best 40, including a six off Kemar Roach. South Africa made it to 174 all out, setting a victory target of 324.

Van der Dussen finished unbeaten on 75, while in the course of the innings former West Indies captain Jason Holder became just the 15th man in Test history to reach 50 catches, 1,000 runs and 100 wickets in a career. He joined that club with a spectacular catch at second slip to see off Keshav Maharaj.

West Indies' batting fragility had been exposed by South Africa on Saturday, the second day of the match, when they were bowled out for 149, exactly half of the tourists' first-innings 298 total. It meant the hosts were on the back foot heading into day three, but they had South Africa rattled as the Proteas top order offered desperately little resistance.

The morning session was wiped out due to rain in St Lucia, but when play began at the Daren Sammy National Cricket Stadium, Roach was quick to make an impact, having openers Aiden Markram and Dean Elgar both caught cheaply at second slip by Jason Holder.

Keegan Petersen chopped Kyle Mayers' second ball of the innings into his stumps to fall for 18, and Kyle Verreynne, Quinton de Kock, Wiaan Mulder and Maharaj then contributed an aggregate 12 runs. 

Medium-pacer Mayers drew edges to get rid of Verreynne and Mulder and post figures of 3-19, before Van der Dussen and Rabada set about the rescue act.

They made batting look achievable, if not always easy, with Rabada the aggressor as he cracked five fours before lashing a ball of good length from Roach over long-on for six.

That saw him go past his Test-best of 34 not out, but his innings was soon over, Roach (4-52) taking his revenge as Rabada top-edged to Darren Bravo.

West Indies trundled to 15-0 in their second innings before fading light brought an end to play, still needing 309 more runs for victory.


Rabada revives flagging South Africa

Given West Indies' form with the bat in this short series, it was hard to imagine them successfully chasing anything above 200, but had they skittled their visitors for a double-figure total the energy behind such a performance might have inspired the home batsmen.

Rabada might not have fancied bowling at a team newly imbued with confidence, and he soon set about changing the complexion of the match, slapping away the ball to the boundary with gusto, particularly when he picked the moment to go deep off Roach.


Holder joins starry list

Holder became the latest man to reach the 50 catches, 1,000 runs and 100 wickets club, Cricinfo statistics showed.

The first to that all-round haul was England's Wilfred Rhodes, while the list includes the likes of luminaries Richie Benaud, Garfield Sobers, Ian Botham, Ben Stokes, Shane Warne, Anil Kumble and Jacques Kallis.

South Africa have the opportunity to seal a first away Test series win for over four years at the expense of wounded West Indies at the Daren Sammy National Cricket Stadium.

The Proteas hammered the Windies by an innings and 63 runs in the first Test since Dean Elgar was appointed as South Africa captain. They only need to avoid defeat at the same venue in the second match, starting on Friday, to wrap up the two-game series.

Not since March 2017 have South Africa secured a series victory on tour in the longest format, that success coming against New Zealand.

Until the opening success over West Indies last week, the South Africans had not won any Test match away from home since beating England in July 2017 at Trent Bridge.

West Indies were embarrassed on the outskirts of Gros Islet, in St Lucia, where they were skittled out for only 97 in the first innings and could only muster 162 second time around.

The pitiful first-innings total was the lowest West Indies have been dismissed for against South Africa, with Lungi Ngidi taking 5-19 and Anrich Nortje 4-35.

Quinton de Kock made a magnificent 141 to pick up the man of the match award before Kagiso Rabada steamed in to claim figures of 5-43 in the second innings, putting the tourists 1-0 up in the battle for the Sir Vivian Richards Trophy.

Kraigg Brathwaite's home side must come out fighting on Friday as they attempt to salvage a 1-1 draw, eager to end a run of nine Tests without a win over South Africa.

Fast bowler Shannon Gabriel and batsman Darren Bravo have been recalled by the Windies, while Nkrumah Bonner is unavailable for selection due to concussion protocol after he was substituted in the opening Test.

 

MARKRAM: MORE TO COME FROM PROTEAS

South Africa could not have wished for a better start to the series, but opening batsman Aiden Markram says the tourists can move to another level.

Markram said: "It will be tough to better that performance. I'm hoping we've got more percentage in terms of being better for the next Test. I'm positive we've got something more in us."

He added: "It doesn't matter the result, if you win or lose the game, because if you're operating at the standard we've set as a team, then more often than not you'll get good results. We're pretty inexperienced, so the only thing we can measure ourselves against is the standards we set for ourselves."

 

FORMER SKIPPER URGES WINDIES CRITICS TO HOLD FIRE

Critics rounded on West Indies following their drubbing in the first Test, but former captain Jason Holder called for patience.

The top-ranked Test all-rounder said: "We have a relatively inexperienced batting line-up. There are guys who are looking to re-engage with Test cricket and others trying to engage in the Test arena.

"All these things add up. We need to be a little bit more patient. We've seen what they can produce, with the performances just in the recent past."

 

KEY OPTA FACTS

- West Indies are winless in their last six Tests on home soil (D2, L4); their last victory in the Caribbean was a 10-wicket triumph over England in February 2019.
- South Africa have a catch success rate of 81.7 per cent since the beginning of 2017 in Tests, the highest of any team. They have held on to 451 of their 552 opportunities.
- Since his debut in February 2014, no wicketkeeper has registered more dismissals in men's Tests than De Kock (221 – 210 catches and 11 stumpings).
- The Proteas' win in the first Test was their first at the Daren Sammy National Cricket Stadium – having lost an ODI and two Twenty20 Internationals at the venue.

Delhi Capitals piled on the pain for Punjab Kings and KL Rahul by racing to a seven-wicket victory in the Indian Premier League and going top of the table.

It was revealed earlier on Sunday that Kings captain and star batsman Rahul faces surgery after being diagnosed with acute appendicitis, and he was in hospital while this match played out at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.

In his absence, stand-in skipper Mayank Agarwal made a dominant 99 not out in a total of 166-6, helming the Kings innings and cutting loose when he saw fit in a terrific 58-ball knock that contained four sixes and eight fours.

Shikhar Dhawan produced the key innings for the Capitals in response, making an unbeaten 69 and finding the sort of support that Agarwal lacked, helping Delhi to 167-3, winning with 14 balls to spare.

Agarwal had required five from the final ball of the Kings innings to post what would have been just the second IPL century of his career, but he could only crunch a four down the ground rather than clear the ropes.

Kagiso Rabada had earlier taken two wickets in his first two overs, the second coming when he bowled Kings veteran Chris Gayle with a full toss immediately after being cracked for six by the West Indies batsman.

That was the first of three sixes off Rabada's bowling, but the South African paceman also removed Prabhsimran Singh and Chris Jordan while taking 3-36 in his four-over allocation.

Dawid Malan made 26 but it was ostensibly a one-man show as Agarwal contended with a revolving cast of batting partners.

Delhi had more about them, with Prithvi Shaw making 39 in a 63-run first-wicket stand alongside Dhawan, before Steve Smith added 25.

Shimron Hetmyer launched Riley Meredith for two consecutive sixes followed by a cover drive for four in the 18th over, leaving Delhi just two short of their victory target.

Neither Hetmyer nor Dhawan had the privilege of finishing the job, however, with a pair of wides from Meredith carrying the Capitals over the line.


Agarwal deserved better

Not only did he take over as captain, Agarwal also led by proud example, just as Rahul as so often done. His innings was the standout performance of this match, but where he rose to the occasion, others in the Kings ranks wilted. Gayle, with 13, was the team's third highest scorer, and it is almost impossible to win matches that way.

Getting all Het up

Hetmyer's late care-free cameo of 16 from four deliveries would likely not have happened without his team-mates laying solid foundations. They did so in the face of largely unthreatening bowling from Punjab, who sit sixth with three wins from eight games, amid doubts over whether their leader will be back in action this season.

Rajasthan Royals climbed off the canvas to record their first win over Delhi Capitals since April 2018, Chris Morris the hero as he blasted his side to a three-wicket win in the final over.

The Royals were on the ropes at 42-5 during their reply to the Capitals' total of 147-8, yet David Miller's fighting innings of 62 helped keep them in a see-saw contest in Mumbai.

His departure - caught in the deep trying to hit Avesh Khan (3-32) for a third successive six - left the score at 104-7, yet Morris delivered the knockout blows at the death.

Needing 27 from the final two overs, the all-rounder hammered four sixes – including two off compatriot Kagiso Rabada – to sensationally steer Rajasthan home with two balls to spare.

Delhi had suffered a poor start in their innings earlier in proceedings, a superb opening burst from Jaydev Unadkat, who finished with figures of 3-15, helping the Royals reduce their opponents to 37-4.

However, captain Rishabh Pant led the recovery mission for the Capitals, who were unbeaten in the previous five meetings between the franchises.

Lalit Yadav (20) and Tom Curran (21) made useful contributions down the order, while Chris Woakes finished up on 15 not out before playing a starring role for his team with the ball.

The England pace bowler removed international team-mate Jos Buttler for two early on, but the Royals – without the injured Ben Stokes, who will miss the rest of the campaign due to a broken finger – recovered to end Delhi's three-game winning streak at the Wankhede Stadium.

Morris shows his value

Back for a second spell with Rajasthan, who made him the most expensive buy in IPL auction history earlier this year, Morris demonstrated just why he was in such high demand.

Denied the chance to be the hero in their opening game – Sanju Samson turned down a single from the penultimate delivery against Punjab Kings, then got out when needing six to win – he benefited from some loose bowling from Delhi to cash in during the closing stages this time.

Pant down, then out

Skipper Pant rescued his team with a fluent 51 that included nine fours. However, when seemingly well set, he ran himself out trying to sneak a single, some smart work by bowler Riyan Parag seeing the left-hander dismissed by a distance.

Speaking after the game, the wicketkeeper-batsman admitted his team's score was "15-20 short", runs he could easily have provided had he not taken such an unnecessary risk.

Kagiso Rabada put his impressive achievement of reaching 200 Test wickets down to hard work but insisted the "show goes on" after becoming the third fastest South African to reach the milestone.  

The Proteas paceman claimed 3-70 in Pakistan’s first innings during the series opener in Karachi, with the last of those wickets seeing him get to the notable personal landmark in his international career.  

Hasan Ali was bowled to see Rabada make it to 200 on day three of his 44th Test outing; only Dale Steyn (39) and Allan Donald (42) have managed it in fewer appearances for South Africa.  

He is also the third quickest ever when it comes to deliveries bowled – Waqar Younis and Steyn sit above him on that list – having recorded nine five-wicket hauls and taken 10 in a match on four occasions.  

For Rabada, there remains the appetite within to keep on improving, worrying words for opposing batsmen around the world when you consider he is still just 25. 

"It's just hard work and spending a lot of time on your craft, seeing where you can get better," Rabada told the media about his success in the Test arena. "Analysing it, but not over-thinking it.  

"It hasn't all been easy – you find yourself trying to perfect something that might seem so simple, but it's constant repetition, hours and hours of work, so being relentless with that and trying to see how much better you can get and finding ways."

Asked about being in the same company as compatriot Steyn and Pakistan great Waqar when it comes to balls bowled, Rabada replied: "It's a massive feat to be included in a list of such names.  

"When you start playing you don't ever think that you'd be on such a list and have such statistics. All you want to do is the best that you can. 

"I'm really glad, it's satisfying; it's a great milestone, but the show goes on."

Rabada missed the chance to bring up his 200th wicket on home soil as he did not feature in the recent series against Sri Lanka in South Africa, the Proteas understandably taking no risks with their premier strike bowler upon his return from a groin injury.

It meant his appearance against Pakistan was his first in the format since the third match of the series against England, back in January 2020. 

"Test cricket never gets old, never gets any easier as well – you are constantly challenged," Rabada explained upon his return to duty for his country

"Playing in Pakistan as well, it's quite an amazing place. The only place that I haven't played previously, so I'm glad to have the opportunity to play here.  

"It's been hard work, just like any Test match, especially in the subcontinent where you have to be more patient. It teaches you a lot of lessons and I've been reminded of some of them."

Kagiso Rabada struck twice as Pakistan made a nightmare start to their reply after bowling South Africa out on a dramatic day one of the Test series in Karachi.

The Proteas, touring Pakistan for the first time in 14 years, were dismissed for 220 after winning the toss at the National Stadium on Tuesday, Yasir Shah taking 3-54.

Dean Elgar (58) made a half-century but South Africa lost four wickets in the afternoon session and were all out not long after tea, debutant Nauman Ali and paceman Shaheen Shah Afridi finishing with two wickets apiece.

Rabada, playing his first Test for just over a year, then brought Pakistan back down to earth as he took 2-8 in six overs and they were in deep trouble on 33-4 at stumps.

Fit-again paceman Rabada removed Imran Butt for only nine on his debut and dismissed Abid Ali before Keshav Maharaj claimed the huge scalp of Babar Azam for just seven in his first innings as Test captain.

Anrich Nortje got in on the act by seeing the back of nightwatchman Afridi and Pakistan will resume on day two trailing by 187 runs.

The tourists had early been going along nicely on 63-1 until Rassie van der Dussen was run out by a combination of Babar and Mohammad Rizwan and they stumbled to 179-6 at tea, Elgar edging Nauman (2-38) to Babar at first slip after digging in for a valuable half-century.

George Linde chipped in with 35 before falling to the recalled Hasan Ali and Rabada made an unbeaten 21 before making a big impact with the ball as South Africa hit back late in the day to take the upper hand.

Proteas in a spin

Pakistan are without a win in five Tests and arrived home smarting from a 2-0 loss in New Zealand but made an encouraging start to this two-match series.

A brilliant slip catch from Butt off the bowling of Afridi accounted for Aiden Markram, but it was the spinners who did the bulk of the damage. Yasir got rid of Faf du Plessis, while Nauman – the fourth-oldest Test debutant for Pakistan aged 34 – claimed the scalps of skipper Quinton de Kock and Elgar as South Africa folded.

Rapid Rabada on brink of 200 club

Rabada came steaming in with the new ball to turn the tide, sending Abid Ali's off stump cartwheeling out of the ground before snaring Butt, who was caught at leg gully.

The paceman is now just one away from two 200 Test scalps and will come charging in again on day two with Pakistan in the mire after Maharaj trapped Babar in front and Afridi was bowled by Nortje for a duck.

South Africa will be looking to seal a first series win over Sri Lanka since January 2017 when the teams meet in the second and final Test in Johannesburg.

Quinton de Kock started his Test captaincy stint with a comprehensive victory in Centurion last time out, despite the visitors making 396 in their first innings.

Former skipper Faf du Plessis weighed in with a career-best score of 199 as the hosts replied with a massive total of 621, allowing the bowlers to wrap up the win with well over a day to spare.

Sri Lanka were not helped by a number of injuries during proceedings at SuperSport Park – Dhananjaya de Silva retired hurt on 79 on day one and did not bat again, while Kasun Rajitha went down just 2.1 overs in the game.

The duo, along with Dinesh Chandimal, Lahiru Kumara and Oshada Fernando, have been ruled out for the second match, while Suranga Lakmal remains doubtful having already missed the opener. 

Sri Lanka's injuries are not just a concern for this series either, as the first of two Tests against England on home soil begins on January 14.

Despite the obvious problems for their opponents, South Africa opening batsman Dean Elgar insists they will not be so slow to get going this time.

"We've obviously got to try and throw the first punch, which we didn't do in the first Test," Elgar said, according to ESPNCricinfo.

"It's almost like we waited for them to make a play and put ourselves under a lot of pressure with them scoring almost 400 runs.

"We know if we strike first with the ball we will put them under a lot of pressure especially on a wicket at the Wanderers that generally assists seam bowling."

South Africa went down to England by 191 runs in their most recent fixture in the format at the venue, back in January 2020, but have not lost back-to-back Tests at the Wanderers since 2006.

Kagiso Rabada is part of the squad after missing the previous game with a groin strain, though both Raynard van Tonder and Glenton Stuurman were released on the eve of the match due to injuries.

 

RABADA EYES LANDMARK 

Head coach Mark Boucher has stated South Africa will take no risks with the fit-again Rabada. However, while not necessarily missed in the opener as others filled in admirably, his presence would undoubtedly strengthen the home team's attack.

Rabada is on the brink of an impressive milestone too, as the 25-year-old is just three wickets away from becoming the eighth player to take 200 for South Africa in Tests.

Achieve the feat in Johannesburg and he will become the third-fastest to the number in Proteas history, only behind Dale Steyn (39 Tests) and Allan Donald (42) in terms of matches played.

OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS

Sri Lanka are missing several key players for the final game of the trip, though Dimuth Karunaratne hopes those in the final XI will make the most of the chance to impress.

The captain himself will hope to make greater contributions with the bat – he scored 22 and six in his two knocks at Centurion – but it is the bowling department where the team will be lacking in experience, particularly if Asitha Fernando is selected to make his debut.

"You can't play in your comfort zone all the time, and it's a good opportunity for me and the players who will play to show what they've got," Karunaratne said. "It's going to be a challenge for me to work out how to utilise this inexperienced side.

KEY OPTA FACTS

- South Africa have managed to win 12 of their previous 16 Test matches played on home soil – losing only three of those encounters (D1).
- Sri Lanka have won only one of their last six Tests to begin a calendar year (D1, L4). Their solitary victory was in January 2020, beating Zimbabwe by 10 wickets.
- Quinton de Kock (2,952) is closing in on 3,000 runs in Tests for South Africa. He would become the 16th man to reach that milestone for the Proteas.
- Out of Wanindu Hasaranga's 77 runs scored in the first Test, 86 per cent came in boundaries, though just three of his 16 in total were through the leg side.
- Sri Lanka have lost 12 men's Tests in South Africa, their second-worst total in any country away from home (13 in Australia).

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