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Windies trail by 275 against South Africa


Windies trail by 275 against South Africa

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CENTURION, South Africa (AP) — Fast bowlers Vernon Philander and Morne Morkel shared nine wickets to leave West Indies battling for survival against South Africa in the first test at Centurion on Friday.

Philander recorded figures of 4-29 while Morkel took 3-55 as the West Indies were bowled out for 201 in their first innings, then the pair grabbed another wicket apiece as the visitors followed on.

West Indies reached stumps on day three on 76-2 in its second innings, still trailing South Africa by 275 runs.

The only respite for the West Indies came when Dale Steyn limped off midway through an over at the start of the second innings with a tight groin, and Philander bowled just three overs due to tightness in his hamstring.

South Africa captain Hashim Amla was forced to turn to part-timers Stiaan van Zyl and Dean Elgar as a result, but Steyn returned to the field in the final half hour of the day, suggesting he will be fit to bowl again on the fourth morning.

“Fast bowlers are always going to have niggles, but we’ll just have to rest well and come back tomorrow,” Philander said.

The West Indies’ position at the end of the day was all the more disappointing given that they began it in steady fashion, with openers Devon Smith and Kraigg Brathwaite putting on a 72-run stand.

The day’s initial breakthrough came in disputed circumstances, with Smith given out caught behind off Philander for 35 despite replays suggesting there was no contact with the bat.

There was no doubt about Brathwaite’s dismissal for 34 though, as his genuine edge was held by Hashim Amla at slip in Philander’s next over.

Marlon Samuels and Leon Johnson took West Indies safely through to lunch on 110-2, but Johnson fell for 31 shortly after the interval when he scooped a Kyle Abbott delivery straight to cover.

Samuels and Shivnarine Chanderpaul dug in for the better part of an hour, but Morkel broke a crucial partnership when he forced Samuels to play on for 33.

“Obviously it was very frustrating that the first four batters got into the thirties and nobody carried on,” Johnson said.

Philander made it a productive second session for the Proteas when he had both Chanderpaul, on 21, and Blackwood, 12, well caught by Alviro Petersen at second slip to send the West Indies to tea on 184-6. It took South Africa just five overs to wrap up the tail thereafter as Morkel struck twice more.

Amla had no hesitation in enforcing the follow-on, and Philander removed Smith for 5 with his second delivery of the innings, and Morkel had Brathwaite caught at slip on 20.

Johnson reached the close of play unbeaten on 33, while Samuels was 13 not out.

However, with fast bowler Kemar Roach unable to bat in the first innings due to an ankle injury and unlikely to do so in the second, South Africa should need just seven more wickets for victory.

“We may have to be patient again tomorrow. It’s not going to happen where we just run in and knock seven poles over,” Philander said.

Meanwhile, wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock and Faf du Plessis were unable to take the field for South Africa, with De Kock rolling an ankle in the warmups, and Du Plessis suffering from abdominal cramps.

A South African team manager confirmed that both players were assessed, and the extent of their malaise would be known on Saturday.