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April 1, 2005
But if Chanderpaul had led by example with the bat, his decision to declare in fading light as soon as he had flicked Nicky Boje for four to bring up his double hundred was an error. South Africa's openers faced just two balls in the gloom before they were heading back to the pavilion with broad grins on their faces. It was an inevitable end, and it was hard to see why West Indies had not just batted through to the close and added to Graeme Smith's frustration.
On a pluperfect batting track and in front of another good crowd, West Indies had made steady rather than spectacular progress, with the run rate never climbing above three an over. In fairness to South Africa, they looked more on the ball than they had yesterday, but on this batsman-friendly surface it made little difference.
Overnight rain left the playing area too damp for a prompt start, but when play resumed an hour late it was fairly clear that the bowlers were in for another long day. Both Chanderpaul and Wavell Hinds started circumspectly, Hinds taking 20 minutes to add to his overnight 188. A taunt of "Boring, Wavell, that's boring," from Graeme Smith in the slips only stirred him and thereafter he got back into his stride, bringing up his double hundred with a punch behind square on the off. He then played the shot of the match, a classical straight drive off the disappointing Makhaya Ntini.
Chanderpaul began the brighter, flicking the second ball he faced for four, but displayed remarkable concentration in his shot selection, happy to duck bouncers and leave any temptation outside his off stump. He punished anything on his legs as well as unleashing a few sumptuous drives through the covers.
There was no respite for the South Africans as one Hinds was replaced by another, Ryan, who started uncertainly but slowly found his grove. He added 116 with his captain before on 47 he aimed a drive at a flighted ball from Boje but only edged straight to Jacques Kallis at first slip. If Hinds had played well enough to deserve his fifty, Boje had earned the wicket with his perseverance on an unhelpful surface.
As Chanderpaul pressed on, Narsingh Deonarine, the fifth left-hander in the top seven and another making his debut, survived a jittery start and a hostile welcome from Andre Nel and gradually found his touch. The run rate continued to fall as the ball grew soft, and a message came out from Bennett King, the coach, to get things moving.
Then came Chanderpaul's moment of triumph, which nobody would begrudge him in the difficult circumstances surrounding this match. The shame was that seconds later it was followed by the declaration which was so badly timed.
Smith c Boucher b Nel 11 (24 for 1) Regulation edge, pouched one-handed in front of first slip.
Ganga c Boucher b Nel 0 (24 for 2) Pushed at a wide one, simple catch at knee-height.
Pagon c Kallis b Nel 35 (106 for 3) Early on a defensive push, skewed to silly mid-off.
W Hinds c Boucher b Langeveldt 213 (390 for 4) Loose off drive edged to wicketkeeper.
R Hinds c Kallis b Boje 48 (506 for 5) Edged attempted drive of flighted ball straight to first slip.
What's wrong with their cricket? Well, what isn't?