SA in West Indies

Fast bowlers put SA in charge

2010-06-13 08:38
Graeme Smith celebrates his half century. (AP)

Port of Spain - Fierce fast bowling from Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel set them up, and captain Graeme Smith then plundered an unbeaten 79 to put South Africa in command of the opening Test against West Indies on Saturday.

Steyn captured five wickets for 29 runs from 14 overs, and Morkel supported with four for 19 from 13 overs, as West Indies were dismissed for their lowest total against the South Africans of 102 about 45 minutes before tea.

"Morne bowled fantastically well," said Steyn. "He set the standard in the morning session with three early wickets for us.

"Once the ball started reverse swinging, we came back into the game, myself and the low skiddy bowlers, but I thought we bowled fantastically well."

The Proteas, with a first innings lead of 250, chose not to enforce the follow-on to rest their hardworking and sore fast bowlers in particular, and Smith profitted to lead his side to 155 for two at the close on the third day at Queen's Park Oval.

They have a lead of 405.

South Africa lost Alviro Petersen lbw playing across to Sulieman Benn for 22, following an opening stand of 56 with Smith, and Hashim Amla, caught at extra cover off Shane Shillingford for five.

Smith reached his 50 from 78 balls, when he chopped a delivery from Benn to backward point, and Brendan Nash mis-fielded to allow him the luxury of a single.

He and Jacques Kallis, not out on 40, then spent the remainder of the evening in an unfinished stand of 76 for the third wicket that further broke the spirits of their opponents.

"We'll try to keep them out in the sun for a little bit longer," said Steyn. "We will bat until we feel comfortable that we have enough runs with which to play, and go out there and do the business again with the ball."

Steyn transformed the complexion of the match, after West Indies continued from their lunch-time position of 65 for three.

The 27-year-old sliced through the middle and lower order to become the fifth South African bowler to take 200 wickets in Tests behind Shaun Pollock, Makhaya Ntini, Allan Donald, and team-mate Jacques Kallis.

"It was another great day to be South African again," said Steyn. "Individually, it was great to have the honour of a five-for, and picking up my 200th Test wicket, but it was a day about our team."

Before lunch, Morkel had run through the top order in a decisive opening spell, when he ripped out makeshift opener Travis Dowlin, Brendan Nash in controversial circumstances, and West Indies captain Chris Gayle in successive overs to leave the home team on 12 for three.

After lunch, Steyn had Shivnarine Chanderpaul caught at short fine leg by wicketkeeper Mark Boucher for 26 fending a fast, short, rising delivery, which marked the end of a flourishing stand of 59 for the fourth wicket with Narsingh Deonarine.

This triggered a dramatic collapse that sent West Indies plunging from 71 for three to 75 for nine in the space of 28 balls spanning close to half-hour.

When Steyn, playing in his 39th Test, breached Benn's feeble front-foot defensive stroke and bowled him for a duck, it was his landmark dismissal.

Only three bowlers have achieved the milestone in fewer Tests - Clarrie Grimmett of Australia holds the record of 36 matches, his compatriot Dennis Lillee, and Pakistan's Waqar Younis needed two more Tests.

Jacques Kallis put the Windies' out of their misery, when he had Nelon Pascal caught at mid-wicket for two.

Earlier, Morkel benefitted from a questionable decision from video umpire Simon Taufel of Australia that removed Nash for one, and put the Umpire Decision Review System under the microscope again.

The fast bowler delivered a short, rising ball from which the Australia-born left-handed batsman, tried desperately to sway out of the line.

The ball looked like it clipped the glove through to Boucher, and the Proteas appealed for a caught behind decision, but standing umpire Steve Davis, also from Australia, ruled not-out.


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