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West Indies 149 and 15 for 0 (Powell 9*, Brathwaite 5*) need another 309 to beat South Africa 298 and 174 (van der Dussen 75*, Roach 4-52)
(CRICINFO) South Africa set West Indies 324 to win the second Test and square the two-match series in St Lucia, and the hosts knocked off 15 of those runs without losing a wicket by the end of the third day. West Indies have successfully chased a score over 300 seven times before, second only to Australia, and twice in the last four years but are yet to cross 200 in this series.
South Africa managed 33 more runs than their lowest total against West Indies, 141, a record in danger of being rewritten, when they teetered on 73 for 7. Rassie van der Dussen scored the sixth half-century of his Test career and shared in a 70-run eighth-wicket stand with Kagiso Rabada to save South Africa’s blushes. Rabada finished with a career-best 40, the second-highest score on the South African card.
Kemar Roach and Kyle Mayers shared seven wickets between them and asked tough questions of South Africa’s line-up. Despite a heavy morning downpour and high humidity, there was not much swing through the air but the West Indian attack generated movement off the seam and challenged South Africa’s top and middle order.
The day’s action got underway two hours and forty minutes late, with no play possible in the first session because of a wet outfield. Play was interrupted a couple of times more and only 59 overs were possible in the day. West Indies bowled 53 of them and their attack appeared to tire as the day wore on. Shannon Gabriel, who came into this match having recovered from a hamstring injury, was a particular concern. He bowled just six overs, in spells of three each, and went wicketless. Both Roach and Roston Chase also left the field for periods of time and Chase, who suffered a quad injury while fielding, did not bowl at all.
Roach though struck with his third ball when Aiden Markram was forced to play at a delivery that moved away from him only to edge it to Jason Holder at second slip. He troubled Keegan Petersen and then changed ends to remove Dean Elgar, who pushed at a ball that seamed away from him and gave Holder a second catch.
Petersen saw off Roach but bottom-edged Mayers onto his stumps as he tried to cut a short and wide delivery. He finished his debut series with a top score of 19.
Mayers could have had Kyle Verreynne caught in the cordon when he edged a full delivery between third slip and gully, and then did have him when he was caught behind in the next over. West Indies snared the biggest fish four balls later when Quinton de Kock edged a Holder delivery to Joshua Da Silva. After a hundred in the first Test and 96 in the first innings of this Test, de Kock was dismissed for a duck.
When Wiaan Mulder attempted to drive a Mayers’ delivery that was pitched on fourth stump he edged it and was caught at gully. With South Africa losing five wickets for 21 runs, the questions about their batting inconsistencies resurfaced. van der Dussen and Keshav Maharaj took South Africa to tea but Maharaj was dismissed 14 balls after the break to what may be remembered as the catch of the series. Holder dived full stretch to his right to hang on one-handed as Maharaj edged off Jayden Seales.
West Indies would have wanted to finish off South Africa’s tail quickly from there but Rabada denied them with a display that may earn him a promotion. He drove Gabriel through cover-point for four, hit Mayers over mid-off to take South Africa’s lead over 250, but the shot of his innings was a swing off Roach that went over long-on for the first six of the innings.
van der Dussen brought up his fifty three balls later, off 103 balls. His was a demonstration of control, occasionally peppered with an aggressive shot through the covers or with a flick through the leg side. He may have had thoughts of a first Test century but Rabada’s dismissal, when he top-edged a Roach slower ball to the point fielder, would have ended those hopes. Anrich Nortje took South Africa’s lead past 300 and then nicked off before Lungi Ngidi became Da Silva’s first Test stumping when he went down the wicket to hit Kraigg Brathwaite over the top but missed.
West Indies had to negotiate a little period of batting before the close and saw off Rabada, Ngidi and Maharaj to finish the day unscathed. A massive job remains for them over the next two days, made more difficult by a potential shuffle to their line-up because of Chase’s injury.