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Ken Borland

Proteas advertising their passion for Test cricket in clinical fashion

Posted on March 11, 2023 by Ken

The Proteas were able to celebrate a massive 284-run over the West Indies in the second Test at the Wanderers.

The second Test between South Africa and the West Indies may have only lasted three-and-a-half days, but in terms of advertising their self-professed love of Test cricket and their renewed happiness under new leadership, the Proteas produced a compellingly clinical display at the Wanderers on Saturday.

The West Indies were bundled out for just 106 in only 35.1 overs, their third lowest total ever against South Africa, whose 284-run winning margin was their second-biggest against the once-great Caribbean team.

Off-spinner Simon Harmer took the new ball and bowled unchanged from the Golf Course End to take three for 45 in 17.1 overs. Kagiso Rabada, as ever, had set the ball rolling with two wickets in the 11th over, after West Indies openers Kraigg Brathwaite (18) and Tagenarine Chanderpaul (2) had initially done well to put on 21 for the first wicket.

Seven overs later, the West Indies had crashed to 34 for six at lunch, left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj also taking two wickets.

But what happened next to Maharaj was the only negative of the fourth and final day at the Wanderers, with the 33-year-old rupturing his achilles tendon as he tried to celebrate his second wicket, an excellent review leading to Kyle Mayers being given out lbw for 7 on the stroke of lunch.

Not much more than an hour after lunch it was all over, with young fast bowler Gerald Coetzee mopping up the tail with three for 37, once again improving on his career-best figures.

“Today the guys were very clinical in the way they went about their business. Winning is always fun and I did enjoy that,” new Test coach Shukri Conrad said after debuting with a 2-0 series win. “To see smiles on the faces and a happy changeroom is fantastic, because after the Australia tour, things were very dark.

“It was great to see how the guys responded and I feel there has been a little bit of growth already. We now have to find novel ways of keeping that growth going because we don’t play another Test for nine months.

“I can say categorically and emphatically that the boys want to play Test cricket, every single one of them wants to play more Test cricket,” Conrad said.

The 55-year-old coach was especially delighted for his captain, Temba Bavuma, who must have slept well overnight having scored a magnificent 171 not out that led the Proteas from a position where they were in danger of losing the match to a massive lead.

Although Bavuma only added a single to his score on Saturday, swinging Jason Holder straight to deep backward square-leg, he has answered his critics in emphatic fashion, his long-awaited second Test century being not only a biggie, but a matchwinning one on a lively pitch.

Conrad said Bavuma’s epic had roused considerable emotion in the Proteas changeroom.

“Thank goodness the TV cameras didn’t show the changeroom because there were a few wild scenes in there,” Conrad laughed. “Temba is under a lot of pressure, often for no good reason.

“So it was a monumental knock with the Test on a knife-edge. The West Indies have found ways to crawl back into the game in this series, and we have found ways of letting them back in.

“So at eight for two and then losing another two quick wickets, we needed someone to step up and move the momentum of the series. It was both a match and series defining innings.

“It was a helluva knock against a very skilled bowling unit, especially the quicks. Technically, Temba was fantastic.

“We are all so happy for him. After close of play yesterday [Friday], some of the guys stood up and lauded Temba. After all the unnecessary stick he gets, to go out and play like that was fabulous,” Conrad said.

West Indies coach Andre Coley said his team had relaxed at key times on the third day, but he praised Bavuma for “seizing the opportunity and wrestling the game away from us”.

The bowlers then wasted no time in landing the knockout punch on Saturday, securing a win that was as emphatic as some of the big triumphs at the Wanderers in the previous decade when South Africa were one of the leaders in Test cricket.

0 to “Proteas advertising their passion for Test cricket in clinical fashion”

  1. Jumbo Edmondson says:

    Good win, WI batting very, very, weak! Weaker than ours. TB has to keep this going, but why play that shot so early? We lost Steyn, and he lost a career to ‘celebrating’ a wicket, let’s hope Maharaj hasn’t done the same. Verreynne should play. De Zorzi has so much time at his disposal in the crease, just needs to be a more compact, he got out being lazy, 2nd dig. Malan is not, and will never be better than Jansen.

    • Ken says:

      Thanks for your comment Jumbo!
      Yes, one always had the feeling that whatever the Proteas scored, they would be able to bowl the West Indies out for less. I watched their tour game on a slow Willowmoore Park pitch & the SA Invitation XI attack – made up of players who couldn’t make their franchise team that round – made life uncomfortable for them, so I had a feeling they would struggle in the Tests.
      I think Temba was quite keen to get bowling on the final morning – Wanderers normally helps the bowlers in that morning session – but didn’t want to be windgat by declaring … so they thought let’s try and add runs as quickly as possible & then bowl.
      Maharaj has unfortunately ruptured his achilles, so he’s going to be out for most of the year. Hopefully he’ll make a full recovery.
      I agree, Verreynne should return, was really unfortunate to be dropped in the first place.
      Yep, De Zorzi impressed me, looked comfortable at that level. I think all the batsmen, bar Bavuma & Markram, could have been more compact.
      By Malan I presume you mean Mulder? Potentially a better batsman than Jansen, but in the normal course of events I would expect Jansen to be selected before him.

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