People have almost forgotten when the last time West Indies and South Africa played a Test series. Indeed, for a brief period, neither West Indies nor South Africa logged horns in a Test series – but thankfully, the Test series resumed this month and at Gros Islet, West Indies were totally botched by the visitors within three days.
⛔️ RESULT | #PROTEAS WIN BY AN INNINGS AND 63 RUNS
— Cricket South Africa (@OfficialCSA) June 12, 2021
West Indies were left to rue their decision to bat first on Day 1 because the deck offered plenty of bounce and carry for the Proteas pace bowlers who were on fire from the very first ball.
Kagiso Rabada set the tone and looked back to his menacing best but he was not the wrecker in chief, instead, it was Anrich Nortje who struck at the other end and he was joined by Lungi Ngidi as West Indies found the going tough.
Five wicket haul for Lungi Ngidi and four-wicket haul for Anrich Nortje bundled out West Indies for just 97 runs in the first innings – it was breathing fire by South Africa pacers in St Lucia. #WIvSA pic.twitter.com/bIky9kxG6P
— Johns. (@CricCrazyJohns) June 10, 2021
The home side was bowled out for 97 and it was such a total from where they never really recovered.
The debutante Jayden Seales showed a lot of promise along with Kemar Roach and Jason Holder, but a century by Quinton de Kock helped South Africa take a big lead.
The reply of West Indies in the second innings was not impressive as well – they were bowled out for 162.
Kagiso Rabada bagged five wickets and with that, he brought the end to his lean patch in white clothes.
208 – No other pacer has taken more men's Test wickets than @OfficialCSA's @KagisoRabada25 since his debut in November 2015 (208 wickets); the Proteas bowler averages 23 and has a strike rate 41.3 from his 84 innings so far. Daunting.#WIvSA pic.twitter.com/H4vlSeoPuw
— OptaJim (@OptaJim) June 13, 2021
Kagiso Rabada likened his emotions after his first five-for in Test cricket since March 2018 to the feeling a batsman has when he scores a hundred after a lean patch. However, he maintained that not much had changed about his bowling in the last three years.
“You measure the highest accolades in cricket by scoring hundreds and taking five-fors and ten-fors,” Rabada said after the first Test in St Lucia.
“It’s something you always strive to do. Unfortunately, it hasn’t happened for me in recent years but I’m glad that’s happened today. The only thing you can judge yourself on is being consistent in your preparation. It’s like scoring a hundred. Who wouldn’t be happy with scoring a hundred? I am really glad with the performance I put in.”
The architect of that performance was Rabada’s new-ball partner Lungi Ngidi, who took 5 for 19 to record his second five-for in Test cricket and first since debut in January 2018, and Rabada indicated he saw Ngidi’s success coming in the nets.
Sixth Test ton for Quinton de Kock 🌟
— ICC (@ICC) June 11, 2021
“Lungi bowled extremely well, right from the training camp that we held in Centurion [before travelling to the West Indies]. He had the ball on a string. He was bowling really good lines and lengths. His wrist was in a good position and he just seemed extremely determined. We are looking for that same intensity as a team through the coming years,” said Rabada.
“We’re a young team and we are rebuilding. Even our most experienced players are young, like myself and Quinny [de Kock]. Dean is our most experienced but for me, at 26, to be one of the most experienced paints a picture of how young we are as a team. It’s going to give us massive confidence not only moving into the next Test match but moving into the next few years. We can’t take anything for granted but just take all the positives that we’ve done in this Test match and keep building on those. This win has given us a lot of confidence.”
Anrich Nortje ran through West Indies in the morning session, Lungi Ngidi did the same post lunch 🔥
— ESPNcricinfo (@ESPNcricinfo) June 10, 2021
“In the previous games we played, myself included, we were lacking at important times of the game and somehow just let the game slip away. We were good in batches, but at times we could get quite sloppy. In this Test match, we just kept our foot on the throttle and we identified those moments where we felt in the past we slacked off. We know it’s not going to get any easier, it’s about consistency.”
South Africa lost nine consecutive Test matches while playing away from home before defeating West Indies in St Lucia. South Africa’s last away Test win came against England back in 2017 at Trent Bridge.
— Sipokazi Sokanyile (@sipokazis86) June 10, 2021
Surely, this victory would be morale-boosting – but for West Indies, it was a total disappointment after showing glimpses of improvement against Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
259 Runs aggregated by West Indies in Saint Lucia, their second-lowest in a home Test where they got bowled out twice. Their worst effort at home came in 1999 against Australia, scoring only 218 runs at Port of Spain. The 259 runs are also the lowest West Indies made in a Test match anywhere in the 21st century while being bowled out twice.
It was the 200th Test defeat for West Indies. Only England (308) and Australia (226) have suffered more defeats than West Indies in this format, but the two teams won twice the number of Tests than the remaining sides.
— Cricket South Africa (@OfficialCSA) June 11, 2021
Reflecting on West Indies’ failings in the first Test, Brathwaite rued their collapse to 97 all out on the first day of the match, after which their defeat was only ever a matter of time. However, he denied he had erred in choosing to bat first.
“We saw today some variable bounce, the pitch was a little dry, but we didn’t bat well in the first innings so we were under pressure from the start,” he said.
“We were always on the back foot.”
“[South Africa] are quality bowlers but even batting second we thought they would be quality. In the second Test, we’ve got to bat better. As a group, we bowled well, and Seales in his first Test was magnificent. [Roston] Chase showed fight today, but that first innings hampered us a lot.”
“We’ll take a little break and come back stronger,” he added.
“For me, it’s about getting your mind in the right place. It’s more mental than technical.”