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.

Fast bowler Shannon Gabriel and middle-order batsman Darren Bravo have been recalled to the West Indies squad ahead of the second Betway Test match at the Darren Sammy Cricket Stadium in St Lucia starting on Friday, June 18.

Former West Indies captain Jason Holder has backed an ‘inexperienced’ batting line-up to eventually find its feet against better bowling attacks, on the back of a disappointing showing against South Africa in the opening Test match.

The start of the series against the visiting Proteas was no contest, with the regional team losing by an innings and 62 runs inside three days.  In a dreadful showing at the crease, the West Indies put up 259 in two innings and scored just 97 in the first innings.

After a string of positive performances against Bangladesh and then Sri Lanka, the outings at the crease against South Africa were more reminiscent of games last year, in New Zealand, where the Windies struggled to 385 in two innings against a fierce bowling attack and against England earlier in the year.

Holder believes the issue has to do with the team’s inexperience and the lack of cohesiveness it causes at the crease.

“It’s not every day that everyone will go out there and perform but what you would like is to have a bit more consistency and not have these massive imbalances when you get performances such as the one we had with our bat,” Holder told members of the media.

“You must also understand that we have a relatively inexperienced batting line-up.  Bonner is in about his fourth Test match, the same thing with Mayers, Joshua Da Silva, the majority of the top order is relatively inexperienced.  You only have Kraigg who has been around for a while, Powell coming back into the side…Roston coming back into the team after a little while as well,” he added.

“Guys are looking to re-engage themselves in the Test arena, some are looking to engage themselves for the very first time.  All these things add up in the grand scheme of things and we have to be a little more patient with this line-up.”

 

 

Despite being shot out twice for less than 300 runs at the Darren Sammy Cricket Stadium in the first Test against South Africa last week, West Indies fast bowler Kemar Roach says pitches like the one they played on will help West Indies cricket in the long run.

On a grassy surface that offered bounce and pace to fast bowlers, South Africa bowled the West Indies out for scores of 97 and 162 while securing victory by an innings and 63 runs inside three days. South Africa made 322 in their only turn at-bat.

However, according to Roach, who took 2-64 from the 20 overs he bowled, said pitches like the one they played on will ultimately benefit the players in the region.

“I think the pitches benefit us in the long run, especially when we go on tours to South Africa and Australia where the bounce is a lot more,” Roach said.

“We wouldn’t be unfamiliar when we go to these countries. I think it’s good to have a pitch like this in the Caribbean we can prepare ourselves for these overseas tours.”

The bowler, who is a few days shy of his 33rd birthday, had a successful stint in May with Surrey in the English County Championship where he took 22 wickets at an average of 20.54. Among the 22 wickets were nine that he took in his final match against Middlesex.

He said the pitches he played on were different in nature to the one in St Lucia.

“Pitches don’t bounce much in England. There is a lot of movement because of the atmosphere and the amount of grass they put on the pitch,” he said, adding that he believes he and his teammates will need to adjust their game to suit the surface.

“The pitch in St Lucia bounced a lot more than I have seen in a while. It reminds me of a wicket in Australia or probably South Africa, so it’s about us adapting. It’s about taking on the challenge and trying to be as positive as we can.”

The West Indies will see how much they have adjusted to the St Lucia pitch when the second Betway Test begins on Friday.

 

Former West Indies captain and top all-rounder Jason Holder has urged caution in the development of young fast bowler Jayden Seales.

Despite some amount of debate surrounding the selection of the inexperienced player, the performance of the 19-year-old Seales was one of the few bright sparks in a wretched series for the regional team.

The teenager, who came into the line-up with the absence of Shannon Gabriel due to injury, claimed figures of 3 for 34 and overall figures of 3 for 75.  He did not get the chance at a second innings as South Africa only needed to bat once.  Prior to his debut, Seales had only played one First-Class match. 

While admitted to being delighted by the young bowler’s potential, Holder recommends caution as a necessity in ensuring he lives up to his full potential.

“I’m very excited for Jayden.  It was special to see not just the way he bowled but also the way the team rallied around him,” Holder told members of the media on Tuesday.

“I was actually commenting on his first Test wicket and everyone was saying they really enjoyed how he got around it.  I honestly felt like I was taking my first wicket when Jayden got his wicket,” he added.

“The most impressive thing for me about Jayden's debut is the sustenance of his consistency.  He was there, thereabouts nagging.  He asked tons of questions at multiple stages of the game, which is impressive for a 19-year-old.”

The sky’s the limit for him if he can just stay fit.  I just hope that we manage him well.  When I say manage him well, we still have to understand that for Jayden that’s his second first-class game, first Test match.  The body will take a little bit of time to adjust to the workload and we have to be careful not to bowl him to the ground.  I think sometimes we get excited by a young prospect like Jayden and throw him into all formats.  I would like to see a gradual build-up with him.”

West Indies coach Phil Simmons has insisted the team’s lack of productive opening partnerships continues to be a major concern.

While poor all-around batting display was the order of the day in a lopsided loss against South Africa in the first Test, the West Indies, as has become customary, had another slow start at the top of the innings.

The opening pair of captain Kraigg Brathwaite and recently recalled Shai Hope only managed to put 30 on the board in the first innings, with Brathwaite then partnering with another recalled batsman, Kieran Powell, to combine for 21 in the second innings.

Prior to this series, however, Brathwaite and opening partner John Campbell has had an average stuck at around the 22 mark for the last several series played.  Campbell has been ruled out of the current series with an injury.

On the back of the lopsided defeat to South Africa, Simmons insists it is an area the team is desperate to fix.

“It’s one of the things we have been desperately trying to work on because if you look back, a lot of times when we win Test matches against top teams, we have good opening stands,” Simmons recently told members of the media.

“It’s disappointing because when you look at the last 7 Test 100s scored by an opener, I think they were all scored by Kraigg.  So, it’s disappointing for us and we are trying to work very hard on that,” he added.

 

 

 

 

 

Kagiso Rabada took five wickets to help South Africa to victory over West Indies by an innings and 63 runs in the first Test in St Lucia on Saturday.

The tourists carried a lead of 143 into day three and completed the job before lunch at the Daren Sammy Stadium for their first away Test victory since 2017.

Resuming play on 82-4, West Indies lost Jermaine Blackwood (13) and Jason Holder (four) early on before Roston Chase provided some temporary respite.

Chase added 62 runs for the hosts, but he was bowled by left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj and Rahkeem Cornwall was caught at mid-off by Rassie van der Dussen for a duck.

A fifth wicket for Rabada followed soon after, with Joshua Da Silva (nine) doing little to extend the session.

Anrich Nortje claimed the last wicket as Jayden Seales (three) flashed at a wide ball and edged to Wiaan Mulder, giving South Africa a 1-0 lead in the two-match series.


RABADA LEADS THE WAY

The likes of Lungi Ngidi and Nortje played a big part in South Africa's dominant victory, but Rabada deserves particular praise after his first Test five-for since March 2018.

West Indies had no response to Rabada's bowling, which included the wickets of Kraigg Brathwaite, Kieran Powell, Blackwood, Da Silva and Cornwall.


CHASE RUNS NOT ENOUGH

The West Indies lost by an innings at home for the sixth time in 253 matches despite the best efforts of Chase, who top-scored for his side with 62 runs.

Chase was the only West Indies player to score above 20, a tally that included back-to-back boundaries to bring up his half-century off 122 balls.

South African pace bowler Lungi Ngidi has hailed the potential of West Indies debutant Jayden Seales who claimed a hat-trick on debut for the regional team earlier this.

The West Indies have had a mediocre start to the first Test, with the young bowler’s performance on the first day, where he claimed 3 for 34 one of the few highlights of the match so far.

The inclusion of the 19-year-old, in the absence of lead strike bowler Shannon Gabriel, had proven to be somewhat of a controversial decision.  Critics insisted that the player’s limited experience, having played one First-Class match prior to his debut, meant that more experienced bowlers were being overlooked in his favour.

Ngidi, who himself lit up the first day for South Africa after claiming a sensational 5 for 19, insisted that he had so far been impressed with the young bowler’s talent.

 "He is a bit of a danger and a very exciting future lies ahead for West Indies with him in the line-up," Ngidi told members of the media.

"I was keeping a really good eye on him and his seam presentation is pretty much what I tried to do when I was bowling. I think he has a great wrist behind the ball and a very clean action and he seems he can run in all day."

Quinton de Kock made the biggest hundred of his Test career to ease South Africa into a commanding advantage in the first Test against West Indies.

The wicketkeeper-batsman made 141 not out on the second day in St Lucia, striking seven sixes in an onslaught that none of his team-mates came close to matching.

In response to West Indies' feeble 97 all out, South Africa ran up 322 for a 225-run first-innings lead, before limiting the home side to 82-4 second time around.

The tourists will therefore carry a lead of 143 into day three, with West Indies buckling again and looking set for a humiliating home loss.

De Kock, on four not out overnight, set the tone on Friday when he cut away the first delivery of the morning to the boundary.

The man on the end of that treatment, Kemar Roach, avoided being hoisted for a six by the increasingly aggressive De Kock, but Jayden Seales, Rakheem Cornwall and Jason Holder were each carted twice, while Kyle Mayers was also flogged for a maximum.

Across the day, De Kock made 137 of the 194 runs scored by South Africa's batsmen, the 28-year-old finding little support as he posted his sixth Test hundred. Rassie van der Dussen was out in mid-morning for 46, having added just 12 to his overnight score, Holder (4-75) having him caught by Shai Hope at gully.

The wickets kept tumbling while De Kock continued untroubled, Wiaan Mulder's 25 being the only significant other contribution. Keshav Maharaj perished to a majestic catch from substitute Kieran Powell off Cornwall, the short-leg fielder reaching down to his right to make the perfect grab.

West Indies had no answer to De Kock, and nor did their opening batsmen subsequently know how to handle South Africa's Kagiso Rabada, both Kraigg Brathwaite and Powell pinned lbw by the paceman as the hosts slid to 25-2 second time around. When Anrich Nortje had both Hope and Mayers held at third slip, West Indies were 51-4. A punishing defeat beckons on Saturday, surely.

De Kock's one-man show

The scorecard tells us that there were other South African batsmen involved on Friday, but it barely felt like it. De Kock's performance was majestic and dominant, his innings containing 12 fours and those seven sixes and coming from just 170 deliveries. His Test best stood at 129 before this knock, which he managed against Pakistan in Johannesburg in 2019 and in an undefeated innings at Centurion against England three years earlier.

Innings mauling incoming

West Indies have offered nothing to suggest there is a twist to come in this match. Captain Brathwaite might try to rally the troops, but this is surely all about damage limitation now. The South African quicks again bowled with terrific control, and they must be excited about the prospect of a second Test at this Gros Islet ground again next week.

West Indies captain, Kraigg Brathwaite, is already focusing on getting a much better performance from the team in the second innings after a disastrous start to the series against South Africa saw them dismissed for 97 on the first day.

The West Indies had a day to forget at the crease, failing to get to triple digits in an innings for just the 19th time ever.  Jason Holder had the team’s high score with a mere 20 runs, with Brathwaite himself and opening partner Shai Hope adding the next best with 15 apiece.

The hosts were undone by the pace tandem of Lungi Ngidi, who claimed an impressive 5 for 19, and Anrich Nortje who took 4 for 35.  In response,  South Africa were 128 for 4 but Brathwaite was already thinking about the second innings.

“Obviously, South Africa bowled well and we didn’t bat well, so we have to make up for it in the second innings, it’s as simple as that,” Brathwaite said at the end of the day’s play.

“We played some loose shots, but it happens, everything won’t always be perfect as batsmen we played some balls we know we probably shouldn’t have played at, we should have left, but we know what we have to do in the second innings.”

Debutant West Indies fast bowler Jayden Seales insists looking to maintain consistency was critical to his success, on a day when his hat-trick spell provided a rare bright spot on a tough start against South Africa.

The 19-year-old Seales ended with figures of 34 for 3.  His fiery response proved critical in ensuring the tourist ended the day with some doubts in mind at 128 for 4, some 38 runs ahead, and in command of the Test match early, but things could have been much worse.

Earlier on, Lungi Ngidi claimed a jaw-dropping 5 for 19 and Anrich Nortje 4 for 35 as the two combined to bowl out the spell-struck West Indies for 97 in the first innings.  Following the dismissal of South Africa opener and captain Dean Elgar, by Kemar Roach, Seales fired back, his deliveries removing Aiden Markram, Keegan Petersen, and Kyle Verreynne.

“I just tried to remain as consistent as possible.  To try and create pressure and don’t try anything too different.  I do that and I get wickets,” Seales said following the day’s play.

Despite a difficult start for the West Indies, however, the young bowler believes the team remains in the game.

“I don’t think we are out of the game.  Today is just the first day, we didn’t bat as well as we wanted to but I think we pulled it back with the way that we bowled today.”

 

South Africa dismantled a sorry West Indies for 97 on day one of the first Test in St Lucia, before debutant Jayden Seales impressed in a late charge from the hosts.

Lungi Ngidi took his second Test five-wicket haul and Anrich Nortje got rid of four batsmen as the tourists' rampant pace attack left the Windies reeling on Thursday.

It brought up what was just West Indies' second sub-100 total in a Test since 2004.

However, it was not all doom and gloom for West Indies, as teenager Seales took 3-34 to restrict South Africa to 128-4 at stumps.

Sharp bowling from Kagiso Rabada had West Indies on the back foot early, setting the stage for Nortje (4-35) to clatter Shai Hope's off stump.

Nkrumah Bonner received a nasty blow to the helmet from the next delivery and though he was given the go-ahead to continue batting, making 10 runs, that contribution marked the end of his match. Bonner was replaced in the field by substitute Kieran Powell, who will stay involved for the remainder of the Test.

Windies captain Kraigg Braithwate was also bowled by Nortje as South Africa clicked through the gears, and ultimately it was his predecessor as skipper, Jason Holder, who finished as the highest-scorer with a measly 20.

Holder's was the last wicket to fall and was Ngidi's fifth of the innings, the paceman having gone for just 19 runs.

Down but not out, the Windies struck early in South Africa's reply – Dean Elgar going for a duck just five deliveries into his first innings as full-time Test captain.

Keegan Petersen (19) followed in the 10th over, Seales claiming the first wicket of his Test career when the South African debutant edged through to Holder.

But Aiden Markram was on hand to steady the ship, taking South Africa to within a few overs of stumps before succumbing to Seales on 60.

Seales, 19, had his third wicket of a brilliant spell before play was up, Kyle Verreynne slashing at a shorter delivery, with Joshua Da Silva's impressive catch at least giving South Africa some overnight food for thought.

NGIDI AND NORTJE PICK UP THE SLACK

For too long, South Africa have been heavily reliant on Rabada to lead their attack, but his fellow fast bowlers were on hand to deliver this time around.

Ngidi's post-lunch spell was blistering, with Nortje having done the legwork in the morning session. It marked some step up from the last time Ngidi played a Test, when he took 2-74 against Pakistan in April.

SUPER SEALES SHINES

Perhaps the Windies figured they had little to lose, given their dismal first innings, but Seales offered a glimmer of hope.

He bowled with variety and plenty of pace. If the Windies are to get anything from this match, they may need a debut five-for from the teenager, and for it to come quickly on day two.

Lungi Ngidi and Anrich Nortje took nine wickets between them as South Africa bowled the West Indies out for 97 shortly after lunch on the opening day of first Betway Test at the Darren Sammy Cricket Stadium in St Lucia.

After West Indies won the toss and chose to bat on a grassy pitch, Ngidi playing in his 10th Test match took 5-19 as he tore through the West Indies middle-order that was left exposed after Nortje (4-35) claimed the wickets of both openers – Shai Hope and Kraigg Brathwaite, who each made 15.

Kagiso Rabada removed Nkrumah Bonner for 10 and Nortje took the wicket of Kyle Mayers for 1 to leave the home side 48 for 4 at lunch.

On the resumption, South Africa wrapped up the rest of the West Indies batting as only Jason Holder, 20, and Rahkeem Cornwall, 13, provided any resistance to the accurate South African attack.

The West Indies troubles were compounded by news that Bonner, who was struck on the helmet, the first ball he faced bowled by Nortje, has suffered a concussion and will take no further part in the match. He will be replaced by Kieran Powell.

Jason Holder admitted it has been difficult to adapt to a new role in the West Indies Test side, after the captaincy was handed to Kraigg Brathwaite.

Holder opted not to tour Bangladesh in January due to the coronavirus pandemic, with Brathwaite filling in as captain.

Brathwaite subsequently retained the leadership role for the home series against Sri Lanka in March, and the batsman will again be captain for South Africa's tour of the Caribbean.

It was a decision that came as a surprise to Holder – who had been captain since 2015 – though the 29-year-old is now hoping he can use the opportunity to focus more on his own game.

"It was kind of a shock. Yeah, still lost for words in regards to that, but I am not dwelling on it. I don't think it's something I should dwell on, to be fair," Holder told ESPNcricinfo ahead of the first Test of the two-match series, which starts on Thursday.

"Yeah, it's been difficult. I probably may not show it, but it has been difficult.

"For the last five-six years, I've been captaining West Indies, whether that be Test-match cricket or one-day cricket. So now being relieved of both captaincies, it has been a strange transition for me personally."

Holder had some fine individual moments during his captaincy, though in total only managed 11 Test wins, compared to 21 defeats.

"I am just trying to find ways to move on and transition back to just being a regular player. For me now, it's about showing a bit more of my character, and being a lot more… I would say outspoken. I am relatively outspoken, but just expressing myself a little bit more and having fun," he added.

"I feel as though I have been really, really committed to West Indies cricket – I am still committed to West Indies cricket, but more or less for me now it's just about having fun and enjoying however many days I have playing international cricket.

"There is a lot less pressure, a lot less responsibility. It's just about me now personally… I'm 100 per cent a team man. So I'll play my part to help the team and if there are other players who are seeking out advice or guidance, no doubt I'll be here to give them that."

The Proteas, meanwhile, are set to hand a debut to Keegan Petersen, who has drawn the praises of new Test captain Dean Elgar.

"I've been nervous for a while now," said Petersen, who is likely to replace the retired Faf du Plessis.

"It gives me goosebumps thinking about it. I know I will have big boots to fill. Anyone would be nervous. This is what we dream of as kids and eventually when the dream becomes a reality, it gives your system a bit of a shock."

BLACKWOOD CLOSING IN ON MILESTONE

Jermaine Blackwood could well be crucial if the Windies are to pull off a series victory this month, though they do face a South Africa team who have lost their last nine Tests as tourists.

He needs just 55 runs to bring up 2,000 in total in Test cricket, having averaged 37 from his 67 innings so far. Blackwood and the likes of Shai Hope and Kieran Powell – who have earned recalls – will need to be wary, however, with South Africa's bowling strike rate of 52.2 in Tests since 2018 ranking them behind only India (47.8).

Teenager bowler Jayden Seales, meanwhile, will be looking to make an impact on his debut.

TIME FOR RABADA TO CLICK BACK INTO GEAR

Only one pace bowler has taken more wickets than South Africa's Kagiso Rabada (202) in men's Tests since his debut in November 2015 (Stuart Broad – 203).

Rabada averages 23.4 and has a strike rate of 41.7 across 82 innings, but as of late the burden of carrying South Africa's attack appeared to have dragged him down prior to an 18-month COVID-19 enforced lay off for the team.

While questions remain over the rest of South Africa's pace attack, the tourists need Rabada to step up and deliver at his best. A five-for would be a good start – he has not taken one since March 2018 against Australia.

KEY OPTA FACTS

- This will be the first time West Indies play South Africa in a men's Test since January 2015 – the Windies are winless in their last eight Tests against the Proteas (D2 L6).
- South Africa have won all their eight men’s Test series against the West Indies so far, four of which were won away in the Caribbean.
- West Indies have a win and two losses at the Daren Sammy Cricket Stadium in men's Tests, the remaining four matches they have played at this venue ended in a draw.
- Quinton de Kock has dropped nine catches since 2019 in Test cricket; the only wicketkeeper to drop more catches during this period is India's Rishabh Pant (12).
- West Indies are unbeaten in their last four Tests (W2 D2); however, they lost their four such matches prior to this run.

Recalled West Indies batsman, Shai Hope, has targeted making a solid start on his return to Test cricket ahead of the team’s series against South Africa, which bowls off on Thursday.

The 27-year-old batsman last played for the red ball team in July of last year, after being dropped for a poor run of form in Test cricket ahead of the New Zealand series, in November of last year.

After taking the time off to focus on a few technical inconsistencies and fine-tuning his mental approach, Hope was selected as part of a final 13-man squad for the upcoming Test series earlier this week.

 The batsman impressed selectors with his performance in the West Indies Best vs Best practice match, where he scored 79 in the first innings and 104 in the second.  In addition to that, he also made 68 in a practice match against Sri Lanka earlier this year.  The player is hoping that kind of form translates if he takes the pitch for the upcoming series.

“I want to be clearer in my thought processes and obviously, achieve overall success.  I’m trying to turn over a new leaf and start a fresh book, so hopefully, I can hit the ground running if I get a chance to go out there,” Hope told members of the media.

“Cricket covers different aspects, both technical and mental.  So, I have been working on different things.  The main thing is just to get success out there and I believe in finding a way.  I just need to find a way to score runs for the team.”

 

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