Steady start for Windies chasing 324 to win the second Test
Gros Islet – Kraigg Brathwaite and Kieran Powell made a quiet start, after West Indies were left to chase 324 for victory to win the second Test against South Africa in St Lucia and square the two-Test series.
Brathwaite was not out on five and Powell was not out on nine, and the Windies were 15 without loss in their second innings at the close on the rain-shortened third day of the match at the Daren Sammy Cricket Ground (DSCG).
The Caribbean side successfully chased targets of more than 300 twice in the past four years, but they have not passed 200 in their three previous innings, so their chances of victory right now are highly speculative on the evidence of the batting in this series.
West Indies owed their position to their overworked bowlers, led by Kemar Roach and Kyle Mayers, after they dismissed the South Africans for 174 in their second innings in less than two sessions.
Roach was the most successful bowler with four for 52 from 13 overs and Mayers ended with three for 24 from nine overs.
After play started two hours and 40 minutes late because of a wet outfield caused by rain, the Barbados Pride pair extracted enough movement from the DSCG pitch and had South Africa reeling on 73 for seven in the first half-hour after tea.
But the Windies could not maintain the intensity and Rassie van der Dussen hit the top score of 75 not out and Kagiso Rabada made a career-best 40, sharing 70 for the eighth wicket to extend the South African lead past the 300-run mark.
Roach gave the Caribbean side a bright start when he had Aiden Markram caught at second slip for four and removed South Africa captain Dean Elgar in the same manner for 10.
Mayers tightened the screws when he bowled Keegan Petersen for 18 and had Kyle Verreyne caught behind for six and Wiaan Mulder caught at gully for a duck.
In between, Jason Holder had Quinton de Kock caught behind for a two-ball duck to tighten the Windies grip, and the visitors sunk to 63 for six at tea.
Jayden Seales had Keshav Maharaj caught at second slip for six in the third over after the break, but van der Dussen and Rabada defied the home team for more than an hour and steadily increased the lead.
Roach returned to have Rabada caught at point and Anrich Nortje caught behind for three before Brathwaite brought the innings to a close, when he had Lungi Ngidi stumped for six after a brief period of resistance.
West Indies trail 0-1 in the two-Test series, after they crashed to an innings and 63 runs defeat inside three days in the first Test, which ended two Saturdays ago at the same venue.
Though the Vivian Richards Trophy, symbol of Test supremacy between the two sides, is destined to return to Johannesburg, West Indies will be aiming to win the Test and avoid their first series defeat of the year.
South Africa 298 (Quinton de Kock 96, Dean Elgar 77, Kyle Verreynne 27, Kagiso Rabada 21 not out, Keshav Maharaj 12; Kyle Mayers 3-28, Kemar Roach 3-45, Shannon Gabriel 2-65) and 174 (Rassie van der Dussen 75 not out, Kagiso Rabada 40, Keegan Petersen 18, Dean Elgar 10; Kemar Roach 4-52, Kyle Mayers 3-24).
West Indies 149 (Jermaine Blackwood 49, Shai Hope 43, Kyle Mayers 12, Jason Holder 10; Wiaan Mulder 3-1, Kagiso Rabada 2-24, Lungi Ngidi 2-27, Keshav Maharaj 2-47) and 15 without loss.