South Africa 320 and 4 for 0 (Markram 1, Elgar 3) lead West Indies 251 (Holder 81*, Coetzee 3-41, Rabada 2-19) by 73 runs
South Africa have a generous lead of 73 after dismissing West Indies for 251 inside 80 overs on a 13-wicket day at the Wanderers. Jason Holder’s half-century – the highest score for a West Indian batting at No.8 or lower in South Africa – and his 58-run final-wicket stand with Gudakesh Motie helped West Indies concede only almost half the deficit they did at SuperSport Park last week and demonstrated the application the rest of the line-up lacked.
Holder, who was batting with the assurance of a player set for a fourth Test century, kept West Indies competitive after twin collapses. They slipped to 51 for 4 in the morning, recovered thanks to a 52-run fifth-wicket stand between Kyle Mayers and Roston Chase and then lost four for 59 in the middle order to much all the good work of their seamers in the first 16 minutes of play.
Alzarri Joseph struck twice and Mayers once as West Indies dismissed South Africa’s last three batters in 18 balls, with South Africa adding only nine runs to their overnight score of 311. All told, South Africa lost their last eight wickets for 72 runs. The form of their middle order will also give West Indies reason to believe they remain in the game.
On a pitch with extra bounce on one end and turn on the other, batting was always going to be tricky but South Africa also showed up sharply in the field to make it even more difficult.
After only scoring one run in their first 19 balls, West Indies were anxious to rotate strike so when Kraigg Braithwaite tapped Mulder into the covers, he set off a single. But he didn’t bank on Temba Bavuma’s quick reflexes. South Africa’s captain swooped in from mid-off, pulled off a one-hand pick-up-and-release and hit the stumps at the striker’s end to find Tagenarine Chanderpaul short of his ground.
From the other end, Kagiso Rabada extracted extra bounce with a short-of-a-length beauty that found Braithwaite’s outside edge. Elgar had to take the catch low down at first slip and got his hands underneath it to leave West Indies 22 for 2. Gerald Coetzee took over from Rabada and got the second ball of his second over to straighten on Jermaine Blackwood, who was squared up and nicked off.
Chase and Reifer put on 23 runs in 25 balls – thanks largely to big gaps in the field as Bavuma sought to crowd the batters against the spinners – before Coetzee struck again. Reifer tried to flick Coetzee past Tony de Zorzi at short leg but inside-edged onto his pad and de Zorzi took a good catch.
After stabilising the innings before lunch, Chase and Mayers batted with a good blend of caution and aggression for most of the first 10 overs after the break. They capitalised on anything overpitched and turned the strike over sedately but sensibly to stage a small recovery. Their partnership had grown to 52 runs before Chase tried to take Mulder on and failed. He advanced on a full delivery and inside-edged onto his pads before the ball rolled back onto his stumps. A distraught Chase sank to his knees, perhaps knowing he had opened the door into the lower order, with West Indies still 217 runs behind.
Joshua da Silva’s arrival saw the re-introduction of Rabada for the first time since his opening spell but it was Mayers whose patience he tested, particularly after drinks. After spending 76 balls to score 27 runs, Mayers wanted to get a move on and threw his bat at any width Rabada offered, even as he was beaten. After one over in which he looked like he could be dismissed off every ball, Mayers wafted at one too many and edged to Elgar at first slip. When he was dismissed, West Indies were still five runs adrift of the follow-on.
Jason Holder’s first runs, a gorgeous straight drive, ensured South Africa would have to bat again and he soon outscored da Silva, who broke the shackles post tea. He was on 16 off 56 balls when he cut Keshav Maharaj for fours in successive overs and South Africa seemed to be losing their shape slightly. Simon Harmer pulled it back when he bowled da Silva through the bat-pad gap to open up the tail. Maharaj had Alzarri Joseph caught at silly point.
Holder and Kemar Roach put on 31 runs in 40 balls and both of them took on Maharaj. Roach’s fun ended when Coetzee was brought back and he tried to cut but edged to Elgar at first slip.
Holder went on to bring up his fifty off 79 balls with an authoritative sweep that carried for six.
With Gudakesh Motie a more than capable No.11, Holder continued to play his shots and was especially profitable with the slog against the spinners. Their partnership reached 50 runs off 59 balls as West Indies continued to frustrate a South African attack that seemed to be waiting for the second new ball. They did not get there because, with three deliveries to go, Motie holed out to short cover off Simon Harmer, leaving South Africa with three overs to face to close out the day, which Markram and Elgar managed without too many troubles.
(Story by Firdose Moonda from ESPNcricinfo)