South Africa v West Indies, 2nd Test, Durban, 2nd day December 27, 2003

Gibbs leads the charge

Wisden Cricinfo staff

Close South Africa 303 for 3 (Kallis 74*, Kirsten 16*) lead West Indies 264 (Lara 72, Drakes 67, Ntini 5-66) by 39 runs

Herschelle Gibbs: a mighty 142
© Getty Images 2003

After having his nose rearranged in the first Test at Johannesburg, Herschelle Gibbs exacted the best possible revenge on the West Indian fast bowlers, by careering to his 11th Test century on the second day at Durban. By the time bad light brought proceedings to a close, Gibbs had fallen for a mighty 142, while Jacques Kallis was drawing ever closer to a hundred of his own.

Gibbs was aggressive from the word go, cutting Fidel Edwards past point and driving him through the covers in consecutive deliveries, and by lunch South Africa had rushed along to 71 for 1. The early wicket was that of the captain, Graeme Smith, who cut Edwards firmly into the hands of Ramnaresh Sarwan at short third man for 14, but Jacques Rudolph provided some equally frenetic support, as 15 runs came from one Adam Sanford over.

Sanford came in for some heavy punishment as Gibbs latched onto anything loose, but he picked up a wicket as well, as Rudolph attempted to get too clever and steered him tamely to Daren Ganga at short third-man (99 for 2). But the arrival of Kallis gave Gibbs full licence to play his shots, and he brought up his fifty with an emphatic pull through midwicket, again off Sanford.

Drakes was twice rifled through the covers in one over, and Edwards was continually picked off for leg-side fours as he sprayed his 150kph deliveries all over the shop. The only thing that looked likely to slow Gibbs was his own fear of missing out on a century, but he allayed that shortly before tea as Drakes was cracked through mid-on for the 16th boundary of his innings.

Fidel Edwards: tough going at Kingsmead
© Getty Images 2003

After tea, no holds were barred as Gibbs started dancing down the track to greet Merv Dillon, who was dispatched for three fours in an over as the field was spread to patrol the boundaries. But, just when another landmark was in his sights, Gibbs carved wildly at Sanford and inside-edged onto his stumps (267 for 3). He had added 168 for the third wicket with Kallis, who passed 5000 runs in the course of the afternoon session, and reached the close on 74 not out.

Earlier, Drakes had produced the first half-century of his career, as West Indies fought their way to a half-decent total of 264. It was not Caribbean gold by any stretch of the imagination, but after the Windies had been reduced to 50 for 5 on the first morning, it did at least lift their spirits.

Drakes resumed on 40 not out, having added 41 with Sanford, and he was quickly back onto the offensive, as Shaun Pollock was rifled to the long-on boundary. Drakes then brought up his fifty with a big six over midwicket off Makhaya Ntini, before belting the listless Andrew Hall for three fours in an over.

But Drakes's success couldn't last, and Andre Nel struck with his first delivery of the morning - a swatted catch that flew high in the air to Mark Boucher (261 for 9). Sanford, who had played the quiet-man role, then took the attack to Ntini, and paid the price as Hall plucked a sharp chance at third slip. It was Ntini's fifth wicket of the innings.