South Africa seek series win

2014-12-31 12:14
Hashim Amla (AFP)

Cape Town - South Africa will literally be trying to make up for lost time when they take on the West Indies in the third and final Test at Newlands on Friday.

Although the West Indies put up an improved performance, South African captain Hashim Amla stopped short of acknowledging their credentials in his post-match comments after the rain-hit second Test in Port Elizabeth ended in a draw.

Amla suggested that South Africa's first innings total of 417 for eight could have been bigger had his team not been trying to force the pace after most of the second day's play was washed out.

He also pointed out that the West Indian reply of 275 for nine was largely due to a third wicket partnership of 176 between Kraigg Brathwaite and Marlon Samuels, who both hit centuries. The next highest West Indian score was 22 by Devon Smith.

According to Amla, the South African bowlers performed well on an unresponsive pitch in Port Elizabeth.

"I think on a different surface we may have picked up a lot more wickets a lot quicker. We did very well to take seven wickets in 35 overs (on day four) so we have a lot of positives to take into the next game," he said.

Amla clearly felt that South Africa would have been favourites to win if the weather had not cut more than half the playing time from the second Test.

The South African bowlers can expect more pace, bounce and possibly seam movement at Newlands.

South Africa, who lead the series 1-0 after an innings win in the first Test in Centurion, added uncapped off-spinner Simon Harmer to their squad for Newlands.

"We would like to have the option of a second spinner," said selection convener Andrew Hudson.

It would be unusual for South Africa to include two spin bowlers in the same team but Harmer, from the Eastern Cape Warriors franchise, is also a useful batsman.

If he plays he could possibly replace one of the seven specialist batsmen who played in Port Elizabeth if he is not picked ahead of leg-spinner Imran Tahir, who took three wickets but was expensive at St George's Park.

The West Indies will have to choose between bolstering a fragile batting line-up or go in with the same bowling line-up that played in Port Elizabeth.

After Centurion, they dropped batsman Jermaine Blackwood and picked all-rounder Jason Holder. It led to an improved bowling performance but the lower order batsmen, including Holder, crumbled against the pace of Morne Morkel and spin of Tahir.

West Indian coach Stuart Williams said his team was a "work in progress" and the players were looking forward to playing at Newlands in what is traditionally South African cricket's biggest occasion.


South Africa (likely, from): Hashim Amla (captain), Alviro Petersen, Dean Elgar, Faf du Plessis, AB de Villiers (wkt), Stiaan van Zyl, Temba Bavuma, Vernon Philander, Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, Imran Tahir, Simon Harmer.

West Indies (from): Denesh Ramdin (captain, wkt), Kraigg Brathwaite, Devon Smith, Leon Johnson, Marlon Samuels, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Jermaine Blackwood, Jerome Taylor, Sulieman Benn, Sheldon Cottrell, Jason Holder, Shannon Gabriel, Narsingh Deonarine, Kenroy Peters, Chadwick Walton (wkt).

Umpires: Aleem Dar (PAK), Paul Reiffel (AUS)

TV umpire: Billy Bowden (NZL)

Match referee: Ranjan Madugalle (SRI)

Read more on:    proteas  |  hashim amla  |  cricket

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