The second Test started with the hope that there would be some contest because this West Indies unit have displayed their fighting qualities before, rather, it ended up in favour of South Africa, who thrashed the home side and won the series by 2-0.

South Africa, led by Dean Elgar’s resilient batting, negotiated a tough batting day against a much-improved West Indian side. Facing a must-win situation to share the spoils in the series, the hosts’ four-pronged pace attack made good use of the movement on offer in seamer-friendly conditions to make inroads into South Africa’s line-up early on and kept their visitors relatively quiet, with a run rate that stayed under three an over throughout the first day.

On the second day, South Africa seized the advantage in the second Test against West Indies with a first-innings lead of 149. After being dismissed for just under 300 in the morning session, their attack plucked West Indies out for 149 on a wicket-filled day. Fifteen fell in total, although conditions were not as helpful for swing as they were on the first day. There was some seam movement and decent bounce on offer but as was the case in the first Test, the shot selection of West Indian batsmen let them down.

On the third day, 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.

While chasing the target, the West Indian batting failed to deliver again.

Keshav Maharaj took a hat-trick to help South Africa complete their first series win away from home in more than four years, since they beat New Zealand in March 2017. Maharaj is only the second South African to take a Test hat-trick and put South Africa’s result beyond doubt with a triple-strike in the morning session. They sealed the 2-0 result 33 minutes before tea. This is also South Africa’s first series win on the road under Mark Boucher and second in four series on Boucher’s time in charge, since December 2019.

After setting West Indies 324 runs to win the second Test and square the series, South Africa’s attack chipped away at their line-up and rarely allowed a batter to settle. Kagiso Rabada took the first three wickets before Maharaj’s magic came in the 37th over, his eighth of the day, when he sent back Kieran Powell, Jason Holder and Joshua Da Silva off successful deliveries. With Roston Chase unable to bat because of a quad injury, South Africa only needed nine wickets to win the match, with Maharaj finishing with the seventh five-wicket haul of his Test career. As for West Indies, they have not won any of their last three home series.

Since Geoff Griffin took South Africa’s first hat-trick in a Test at Lord’s 1960, there had been 110 chances for a bowler from this country to repeat the feat. Maharaj had the 111th opportunity.

“I probably could have bowled a much better ball than that, but full credit to Wiaan for plucking that catch,” Maharaj said.

“It was a superb reaction catch and whatever Wiaan wants to eat or drink tonight, it will probably be on me.”

“I felt for Da Silva coming in. He wasn’t expecting to come out and it was probably Kesh’s worst ball of the lot,” Boucher joked, before quickly turning to praise for his sole spinner.

“Kesh has put so much hard work into his action and his skill work. He is bowling closer to the stumps and attacking the stumps a lot more. It’s moments like these he will remember for the rest of his career. Coming in on the fourth day and picking up a five-for as a spinner is something you want to do, especially in the last innings. He will enjoy this one and take a lot of confidence going forward.”

At the other end, West Indies were bowled out for their lowest total against South Africa, 97, in the first Test and failed to cross 170 runs in any of the four innings in the series but Brathwaite said the batters must take responsibility for their failings.

Kraigg Brathwaite said, “We didn’t bat well. Full stop.”

“We’re very sorry. We were disappointing. We’ve got to come back and show that fight. Sometimes it’s not all about winning but you want to see the fight and we didn’t show the fans the fight. We’ve got to come back better.”

In Chattogram, West Indies successfully chased a target of 395 in the first Test and in Dhaka, they scored more than 400 in the first innings of the second Test while they saw off a Sri Lankan attack to draw the first Test in Antigua and totalled over 350 in the second Test and were able to declare to set Sri Lanka a target in the second.

Against South Africa, the numbers were lower. West Indies’ highest partnership in the first Test was 46 between Roston Chase and Jermaine Blackwood and 64 in the second between Kieran Powell and Kyle Mayers.

“Part of the plan obviously was to bat better and have consistent partnerships and big partnerships but we didn’t have any,” Brathwaite said.


The next contest for West Indies would be against Pakistan and West Indies hope to fare better with the bat keeping in mind that Pakistan have a very good bowling unit.

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