South Africa coasted to a seven-wicket win over West Indies in the third Port Elizabeth, securing the series 3-0 with two to play on the back of Jacques Kallis’s controlled hundred. On the evidence of the first three matches, it will take something remarkable if they are not to go on to a five-nil whitewash.
West Indies were considerably more impressive than they were two days ago, especially with the bat, but there is no disguising that they are at least two bowlers light. In this format, that is an almost insurmountable handicap. With the bat, West Indies showed real progress, set on their way by Sewnarine Chattergoon’s fifty and then really fired up by an excellent 98 from Marlon Samuels. But hopes that had laid a platform for a win were dashed by some loose bowling.
South Africa’s chase of a target of 253 was so well timed on an easy-paced pitch that there was never really any question of them getting there once Kallis and Graeme Smith put on 82 in 17 overs for the second wicket. Smith fell shortly after reaching his fifty, his second lazy shot off Samuels in three days, but Kallis was at his best, grinding down the bowlers with singles and then every so often unleashing a swashbuckling drive or cut just to show that he could. His only real false shot was the thick edge that brought up his first hundred in Port Elizabeth off 120 balls, but by then the slips had flown. AB de Villiers and JP Duminy were content to play second fiddle, although Duminy opened up once Kallis had reached his hundred.
Samuels was the pick of the bowlers, and while none of the others were really set about on, that was because Kallis was happy to milk singles, and there were plenty on offer, rather than hit the ball out of the park. Had Herschelle Gibbs or de Villiers got going or Duminy come in earlier, then those figures might well have been messier.
As a contest this was one for the partisan only, and a full house basking in glorious sunshine thoroughly enjoyed themselves, often more because of the music and singing than what was going on in the middle. Kallis’s fifty passed by almost unnoticed, but the reception that greeted his 16th ODI hundred more than made up for it.
While they merely made up the numbers in the field, with the bat West Indies were a much better outfit. Their innings in Cape Town lacked any purpose, but here they showed a willingness to get after bowlers. South Africa’s seamers were on top form at Newlands, but when the batsmen got after them today, three - Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Charl Langeveldt - cracked under the pressure.
Without the injured Shivnarine Chanderpaul, there was a fear that the batting lacked any spine. But aside from Brenton Parchment, who perished to a skier after taking instructions to get after the bowlers too literally, the top order all weighed in. Chattergoon showed real class when given width outside his off stump, adding 73 for the second wicket with Patrick Browne.
Browne ’s inclusion for his debut at No. 3 highlighted how bare the Caribbean cupboard is. A keeper who can bat, he was summoned to South Africa as cover for Denesh Ramdin but found himself catapulted into the top order even though he only had only one domestic one-day fifty to his name. And yet he showed composure as well as hitting two sweet sixes either side of the wicket.
With the ever-dependable Shaun Pollock reining them in early on - four runs came between overs 10 and 15 - it appeared we were in for another low score on a slow pitch. But West Indies, with wickets in hand, cut loose and the bowlers, Pollock and Johan Botha excepted, were unable to do much about it. Botha took two important wickets - Chattergoon cutting into his stumps soon after reaching his fifty and Browne trapped back on his stumps - but was not entrusted with his full quota.
As the bowlers wilted, Samuels, dropped on 19 by Mark Boucher off a routine chance standing up to Pollock, tucked in very effectively and the last ten overs were all West Indies. For the first time in the series South Africa were on the back foot and with Pollock bowled out, Smith was at a loss who to turn to. Rather oddly, Botha and Kallis only bowled 12 overs between them at a cost of 3 for 40. Steyn, Langeveldt and Morkel’s 28 overs went for 179 runs.
Samuels savaged Morkel for four fours and a six in seven deliveries, and then thumped sixes off Langeveldt and Steyn for good measure. The fielders did their bit to keep the runs down but there were far too many long hops and full tosses to ever exert any pressure. The final nine overs produced 91 runs, the only blip being that Samuels missed out on a deserved hundred when well caught in the deep off the last ball.
Half the job was done. Unfortunately, that was not nearly enough.
Source:Cricket NewsMore on:Dwayne Bravo, Jacques Kallid, Sewnarine Chattergoon, South Africa, West Indies, West Indies in South Africa 2007
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Post InfoThis entry was posted on Monday, January 28th, 2008 and is filed under General, Cricket.
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