Rabada six-for leads South Africa to victory over West Indies
SUMMARY: South Africa 342 (Aiden Markram 115, Dean Elgar 71; Alzarri Joseph 5-81, Kyle Mayers 1-23) & 116 (Markram 47, Gerald Coetzee 20; Kemar Roach 5-47, Jason Holder 2-7, Joseph 2-30) beat West Indies 212 (Raymon Reifer 62, Jermaine Blackwood 37, Tagenarine Chanderpaul 22; Anrich Nortje 5-36, Kagiso Rabada 2-44, Coetzee 2-45) & 159 (Blackwood 79, Holder 18, Joshua DaSilva 17; Rabada 6-50, Marco Jansen 2-33) by 87 runs
West Indies threatened to turn the tables on South Africa by rolling them over for 116 on the third morning at SuperSport Park, but their own batters collapsed in similar spectacular fashion, chasing 247.
Kagiso Rabada was chiefly responsible for that collapse, bagging 6 for 50 to dismiss them for 159 and seal South Africa’s victory inside three days on a track that offered variable bounce.
Jermaine Blackwood’s thrilling counterattack – 79 off 93 balls – raised West Indies’ hopes, but Rabada found a little extra kick off the pitch to take him out and ensure the new era under captain Temba Bavuma and coach Shukri Conrad began with a victory in Centurion, where the South Africa women’s team that reached the T20 World Cup final five days ago was also in attendance.
It was Roach who had set the scene for the day with his 11th five-for in Test cricket – and first away from home since 2017.
He also surpassed Joel Garner’s tally of 259 to become West Indies’ fifth-highest wicket-taker in Test cricket. Just before lunch, Roach was warmly welcomed back by his team-mates, Jimmy Adams, West Indies’ director of cricket, and Brian Lara, the team mentor.
However, the mood and tempo of the match changed quickly when Rabada struck either side of the lunch break.
After having captain Kraigg Brathwaite caught down the leg side for a duck, he drew an outside edge from No. 3 Raymon Reifer.
Tagenarine Chanderpaul kept playing and missing at full balls, but wasn’t particularly flustered against that length. It was the short ball that bothered him.
He fell on his backside twice while trying to deal with them and then when he dared to hook a head-high bouncer from Marco Jansen, he could only top-edge it to midwicket for 10.
Roston Chase misjudged an inswinger from Jansen and was castled after offering no shot. Then, when debutant Gerald Coetzee produced extra bounce to get rid of Kyle Mayers, West Indies were 33 for 5 in the 15th over.
Blackwood came in and hoicked the seventh ball he faced, off Rabada, over square leg for four. He continued to regularly pump the ball over the top, running away to a 51-ball half-century.
At the other end, Joshua Da Silva was more circumspect and contributed 17 to a 58-run sixth-wicket partnership before he fell to Rabada.
Blackwood, though, went after South Africa’s premier seamer and shanked him over his head for an imposing four. When Anrich Nortje shifted his angle to around the wicket, he ramped him over deep third for four.
Jason Holder also operated at almost a run-a-ball in a 37-run seventh-wicket stand with Blackwood before Rabada had him nicking behind with a perfectly-pitched delivery.
Though Rabada looked like wasn’t at his best earlier in the day, floating some balls in the lower 130-kph range, his seven-over spell post-tea, in which he dismissed both Holder and Blackwood, was perhaps the most decisive passage of play.
The day had started on a more promising note for West Indies. Roach struck with his first ball to cut Aiden Markram’s innings short at 47 off 58.
He went wide of the crease, tricked Markram into playing for the inward angle from over the wicket but got it to straighten late off the seam and graze the outside edge. Marais Erasmus, the on-field umpire, didn’t rule Markram out initially, but he opted to walk back to the dressing room.
In his next over, Roach went wide of the crease again, but this time he beat Jansen’s outside edge and hit the top of the off stump.
Roach also helped snip the South African tail, but Coetzee’s spunky cameo (20 off 15 balls) pushed their lead closer to 250. Markram aside, Coetzee was the only South African batter to score more than 10 runs in their second innings.
He then combined and Rabada, Jansen and Norje with the ball to compensate for their batting collapse and wrap the game up before drinks on the third afternoon. (ESPNcricinfo)