West Indies v South Africa, 1st ODI, Antigua May 22, 2010

South Africa continue success with 66-run win

The Bulletin by Liam Brickhill

50 overs: South Africa 280 for 7 (Amla 102, de Villiers 102, Bravo 3-40) v West Indies 215 (Gayle 45, McLaren 2-37)
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

South Africa carried their Twenty20 success into the one-day series with a 66-run win over West Indies in the first game at the Sir Vivian Richards stadium in Antigua. The victory was set up by twin hundreds from Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers - de Villiers reaching his third consecutive ODI hundred and fourth in six innings - as they added 129 together for the third wicket and registered identical scores of 102 to take the visitors to 280 for 7 after being put in by Chris Gayle. It was a familiar story as West Indies set about their chase in fits and starts, dominating for short periods but losing wickets regularly as they were bowled out for 215 in the 45th over. South Africa put in a team effort in the field, with every bowler except Jacques Kallis picking up at least one wicket.

It had been feared that the wicket would once again play inconsistently to favour the bowlers, but Amla, back in the side and opening the batting with his captain, played with the class and wristy flair that has already become his signature to race to a fluent hundred. He got going with a flowing punch-drive through point in the first over, and he and Graeme Smith had taken South Africa smoothly to 43 when the rain that had delayed the start returned in the sixth over.

The break shortened South Africa's innings by two overs, but did Amla's concentration no harm, and he was straight back into the groove with a crisply-driven boundary off Rampaul. Smith had also looked more at ease at the crease than he has been for quite some time, until Dwayne Bravo found the perfect line with his fifth ball to find the edge of his bat. Bravo was at it again in his second over, as Kallis flashed hard at a short ball outside off stump that gripped and bounced more than he had expected, and the uppercut arced straight to third man.

South Africa were 57 for 2 at that stage, and in danger of squandering what had been a flowing start. But Amla and de Villiers weathered the West Indian fightback - with a little luck as the odd ball nipped past the edge or flew wide of a catching fielder - and steadily seized the momentum back for the visitors. West Indies were not helped by the inability of the bowlers to land six balls in a row on the mark, and whenever pressure began to build it was soon released with a loose delivery down the leg side, or width outside off.

Amla went to a composed century with his umpteenth dab to third man in the 33rd over, but soon after had his stumps splayed by a ball from Rampaul that landed on a length and kept a little low. Amla stayed back when he should have been forward, and was dismissed after his first real error of the day.

With his departure, de Villiers stepped up a gear, pulling Narsingh Deonarine to deep midwicket and swiping him high over square leg to take 13 from his solitary over and move into the 80s. After once again being targeted with a barrage of bouncers - including one that struck him on the grille to leave him lying dazed in the crease - JP Duminy was bowled giving himself too much room to Rampaul shortly after the batting Powerplay was called.

De Villiers went to the second century of the innings with a slug to long on and a large total loomed, but West Indies stepped up their game in the closing overs to peg South Africa back with regular wickets. David Miller biffed away merrily amid the wickets to finish unbeaten on 23 and ensure South Africa reached a competitive total.

West Indies came out facing a revised target of 282 in 48 overs, but Andre Fletcher failed once again, helplessly edging a searing Steyn outswinger to Kallis at second slip. Gayle and Bravo immediately launched a counterattack and for a brief time they found the boundary at will with a succession of authoritative strokes, adding 40 in under five overs to fluster the normally slick South African fielders. Gayle was dropped twice before an overly-optimistic swish outside off stump saw Bravo dismissed for 15, and the spell was broken.

Gayle, though, was determined to go down swinging, collecting five more boundaries - including three marvellous strikes in one over from Morne Morkel - before he fell for 45, Morkel getting his revenge as Gayle top-edged a massive swipe to leg to be well caught by Johan Botha at midwicket.

West Indies were 69 for 3 in the 13th over with that wicket, the required run-rate climbing steadily thereafter as Ramnaresh Sarwan and Narsingh Deonarine struggled to impose themselves on South Africa's bowlers. They added 61 - the highest partnership of the innings - at slightly more than four runs to the over, but, after playing themselves in, then fell within three overs of each other to place a great deal of pressure on the hosts' lower middle order.

Kieron Pollard kept hopes of a late fightback with his best international innings for some time as he reached 44 in quick time, his best shot a soaring straight six off Steyn. He also showed he is more than just a slogger with some intelligent batting to pick up boundaries all round the ground, but when he and Denesh Ramdin fell in consecutive overs with the required rate rocketing past 10-an-over, the result was as good as sealed.