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Player of the Match
Player of the Match

Barbados Test still very much on

This third Test match is still very tight indeed. On the last day two of South Africa's most experienced batsmen, Daryll Cullinan and Jacques Kallis will try to consolidate their overall lead of 119 with seven second innings wickets in hand. If anyone could do it, then these two could. Both have already made tremendous contributions to this series and this is only Test No. 3.

The West Indies, with a great tradition of not losing much at home having only lost one series in the Caribbean since 1993, are fighting to bring themselves back into the game and the series, striking late on the penultimate day.

They managed to snare Gary Kirsten, for his second duck of the game, Herschelle Gibbs for 19 and Neil McKenzie for 12, leaving South Africa 52-3 in their second innings. That took some doing, since all three of these batsmen have done some harm to the West Indies bowlers in this series.

Yet Carl Hooper made some very quick decisions with his bowling changes, using himself with his off-breaks as the first change and leg-spinner Dinanath Ramnarine immediately afterwards. The moves proved successful and South Africa could have been in a worse position had Marlon Samuels taken a sharp chance, at backward short-leg, offered by Kallis from Hooper's bowling.

As it is the West Indies managed to turn adversity into advantage as South Africa seemed to skid a bit. The team that breaks first in the first session of the final day will lose.

Earlier, as the West Indies totalled 387, Ridley Jacobs, the reliable West Indian wicket-keeper/batsman, came of age as he and South Africa's Kallis, a really tremendous cricketer, shared the honours.

Jacobs started the fourth day at 14 not out and lost his captain, Hooper, for his overnight 74 after an unscheduled stop of 45 minutes. That stop was so that the footholds could be repaired, with holes appearing in the bowler's delivery area.

Jacobs batted for about four-and-a-half hours, completing his first Test century in his 29th Test in the process. He was somewhat lucky, though. He was dropped, twice, by the normally reliable Cullinan at slip when he was 25 and 58.

Makhaya Ntini had just been crashed for a six when Jacobs edged the next delivery chest high to Cullinan, only for the fieldsman to parry it over his head. Then, the same fielder missed the catch altogether when Jacobs edged Nicky Boje through slip.

Jacobs hit eleven pugnacious 4's and four thunderous 6's, the last six completing his hundred when he thought he was running out of batting partners. He made sure that he was not left short as happened when he made 96 not out in Perth and 93 last week at the Queens Park Oval.

Jacobs was not out on 113 as Kallis, completed his best bowling figures in Tests, finishing with 6-67 from 36 tireless overs, a marvellous effort, one that takes on another dimension now that there is doubt about the fitness of Alan Donald.

Now Kallis, the ultimate all-rounder, and Cullinan, who must now make up for his mistakes in the slips, will be required to bat well to stop the West Indies from winning this game and squaring the series. The game is still very much on.