St George's Park History
Port Elizabeth, South Africa

The Matches St George's Park - Chanderpaul, with 104 Runs, and Powell, with Three Wickets, Lead the Onslaught at St George’s - SA vs WI
Chanderpaul, with 104 Runs, and Powell, with Three Wickets, Lead the Onslaught at St George’s - SA vs WI
Alvin Reeves

SOUTH Africa are facing an uphill battle to avoid the follow-on today after a dismal performance with the bat in the final session of yesterday’s second day of the opening Castle Test against the West Indies at Sahara Oval St George’s.

The Proteas continued their poor run of batting form at St George’s this season after eventually dismissing the West Indies for 408 shortly before the tea break yesterday.

They lost their entire top order in the evening session to leave themselves at 122 for five and still desperately short of the required 209 runs to make the Windies bat again. And with only the tail to come, the situation looks bleak for Graeme Smith’s team.

The SA batsmen have battled to cope with the conditions at St George’s this summer and suffered embarrassing defeats against both New Zealand and the West Indies in the shorter versions of the game.

There was a sense of déjà vu late yesterday afternoon as a whole bunch of Proteas made their way back to the pavilion with their heads hung low after being rocked by Daren Powell and Jerome Taylor. Two of them, Herschelle Gibbs and Jacques Kallis, failed to bother the scorers.

Gibbs, who now has three consecutive ducks at St George’s in four weeks, was first to go with the SA total on one in the first over when he got half a stride in to Daren Powell and edged the ball past wicketkeeper Dinesh Ramdin.

Smith was the next to be dismissed in all too familiar fashion when Taylor swung one back and trapped him in front for an aggressive 28 which included four fours.

The homeside were 53 for three when Kallis shaped up to play a delivery from Taylor and then pulled his bat away too late as the ball ran off the face to a diving Dwayne Bravo at third slip.

Ten runs later, Hashim Amla played all around a yorker from Powell and was bowled for 29 and when Ashwell Prince was caught at second slip by Runako Morton pushing at a Powell delivery, SA were in deep trouble at 96 for five. However, the last recognised batsmen in AB de Villiers (22) and Mark Boucher (18) managed to dig in for the rest of the afternoon and will continue the fight for SA today.

Earlier, Shivnarine Chanderpaul farmed the bowling from the Windies middle-order and tail to see his side past the 400-mark. Chanderpaul, who began yesterday’s second day unbeaten on 43, clawed his way to his 17th Test century. The gritty lefthander has been in a rich vein of form this year, his last seven Test scores reading 69, 74, 50, 116 not out, 136 not out, 70 and 104 – a world record for consecutive halfcenturies. He frustrated England in May and June this year with his resolute batting and he did so once more against SA yesterday.

He was concentration personified as he showed excellent judgement and patience during his six-and-a-half hour stay at the crease for 104 runs. His ability to leave good length deliveries forced the SA bowlers to alter their strategy against him. And when they resorted to short-pitched bowling or strayed onto his pads on a docile pitch he dispatched them to the mid-wicket boundary with ease. He struck 12 fours in his 254-ball knock.

Darren Sammy offered good assistance at No 8, scoring a defiant 38 – his highest in Test cricket , beating his previous best of 25 against England this year.

The West Indies resumed their innings on 281 for four wickets and it wasn’t long before Makhaya Ntini took his first wicket of the morning when he held onto a skied leading edge from Dwayne Bravo (12) off his own bowling despite clashing with Gibbs who was also attempting to make the catch.

Ntini grabbed his second scalp of the day in his next over when he found the edge of Ramdin’s bat and SA wicketkeeper Mark Boucher did the rest to create some flutters in the Windies dressingroom with the score at 304 for six and a long tail to come. But Sammy acquitted himself well with Chanderpaul and the duo helped steady the ship with a seventh-wicket stand of 57.

Sammy was eventually run out by an underarm direct hit from a diving AB de Villiers but Chanderpaul soldiered on with the remainder of the tail. He was ultimately undone by a beauty from Andre Nel that pitched on offstump from around the wicket and straightened. Chanderpaul played down the wrong line and the ball beat the bat and clipped the top of offstump. Nel ended with three wickets as did Ntini, who was probably the best of the SA attack yesterday.

The Herald
December 28, 2007.

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