South Africa clinch one-day series on back of Gibbs' brilliance
A quite magnificent fifth one-day international century from Herschelle Gibbs lead South Africa to a crushing seven-wicket win over a sloppy West Indian side in the fifth one-day international at the Kensington Oval on Wednesday.
The win gives South Africa an unassailable 4-1 lead in the seven-match series, with two games remaining in Trinidad and St Vincent.
It was about as demoralising a defeat as could have been inflicted, and West Indies captain Carl Hooper's early decision to use his part-time spinners in preference to the three frontline pacemen at his disposal only added to a side bereft of ideas and self-belief. Kerry Jeremy did not even bowl a ball. Gibbs was also dropped on 11 - a sharp chance off Cameron Cuffy which 'keeper Ridley Jacobs spilled.
Gibbs (107), who also produced two sublime moments in the field, faced 132 and struck three sixes and eleven fours in a stay which silenced a stunned full house. Indeed, by the time Gibbs fell driving Dinanath Ramnarine straight to Hooper at cover, a long line of fans was already making its way out of the ground.
Boeta Dippenaar (42 not out) and Jonty Rhodes (10 not out) saw South Africa home with eight overs and two balls to spare.
Earlier Gary Kirsten (18) shared a partnership of 54 for the first wicket with Gibbs before pulling the occasional off-spin of Marlon Samuels - used as early as the 12th over - straight to Brian Lara at midwicket.
Kallis (18) was never troubled, but sacrificed his wicket when total confusion between the batsmen left both of them at the striker's end.
After being put into bat, the West Indies again failed to compile a competitive total on a pitch of few demons. Lara with 92 from 125 balls stood form for any length of time as the home side were undone by some accurate bowling and another immaculate and occasionally inspired performance in the field from the South Africans.
Lara was never at his most spectacular, preferring to accumulate rather than launch an all-out assault. With wickets falling at the other end at regular intervals, he could hardly be said to have had any other option.
He was eventually last out in the 50th over, one of four victims for Kallis, returning to the side after recovering from a strained calf muscle. Lara was bowled slogging - it had reached a desperate stage.
A new opening combination again failed to change West Indies fortunes, Kallis claiming both with just 24 on the board. Chris Gayle (6) edged to Mark Boucher behind the stumps and Daren Ganga splicing an attempted hook straight back to the bowler.
For the West Indies total to have been competitive, they the experienced Hooper or Shivnarine Chanderpaul or Jacobs to keep Lara company. They all made starts, but were also all undone by flashes of South African brilliance.
Hooper (21) turned to see his middle stump cartwheeling backwards when he missed a searingly fast yorker from Makhaya Ntini. Then Gibbs played his hand in the field, first running out Chanderpaul (24) with a brilliant direct hit as he threw off-balance from midwicket and then diving one-handed low to his right to catch a full-blooded cover drive from Jacobs (21).
With the tail failing to provide Lara with meaningful support, the West Indies total always looked well below par.