West Indies hunt for elusive victory
Match FactsSunday May 30, 2010
Start time 09.30 local, 13.30 GMT
The Big Picture
An uncomplicated series victory is just what Graeme Smith wanted after a botched World Twenty20 campaign, which had prompted stinging criticism from the South African board. Less than three weeks on, the Cricket South Africa president, Gerald Majola, is lauding the "skill, steel and savvy" of the team and egging them on to complete yet another clean sweep of the West Indies.
While South Africa have clearly been a class apart from their opponents, it is in the batting that the disparity between the two sides has been the greatest. The West Indies batsmen haven't displayed the application and shot selection necessary to compile big scores, highlighted by the lack of half-centuries in two of the three ODIs in this series so far. Even when the visitors' in-form batting unit flopped on Friday, West Indies' batting proved even more underwhelming to fall short by 67 runs when chasing a moderate target.
South Africa have also been smart with their bowling strategies. For example, the potentially explosive Kieron Pollard is usually tested early in his innings by the express pace of Dale Steyn, and after Darren Sammy's carnage in the second one-dayer he was bombarded with bouncers two days ago, barely getting anything to drive.
In a plain-spoken assessment of the ills of Caribbean cricket WICB's chief executive, Ernest Hilaire, had said the region needs three more years for a turnaround in its cricketing fortunes. After a week of thoroughly dispiriting cricket from Chris Gayle's side, it is hard to contest Hilaire's appraisal.
Form guide (most recent first)South Africa WWWWL
West Indies LLLWW
Watch out for...Morne Morkel has been in top form all series, and it was his intervention that started the turnaround for South Africa in the third ODI after a lacklustre batting performance. His two wickets helped put the squeeze after a free-flowing start to the West Indies chase, and a couple of late wickets boosted his series tally to 10, twice as much as the next highest wicket-taker.
West Indies' bowlers pulled it back on Friday after South Africa's top order had made yet another ominously solid start. Ravi Rampaul typified their resilience by returning strongly after being pasted for 21 runs in his first three overs. There were no boundaries in his other overs, and he used the short ball to good effect to choke the runs.
West Indies have added right-hand batsman Travis Dowlin to the squad for the fourth ODI. Dowlin recently returned from the West Indies A team tour of Bangladesh where he was captain. The changes that could be made are bringing in either Narsingh Deonarine, who was dropped after the first two one-dayers, or David Bernard, who may edge out opener Dale Richards.
West Indies (probable): Chris Gayle (capt), Dale Richards/Travis Dowlin, Darren Bravo, Dwayne Bravo, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Kieron Pollard, Darren Sammy, Denesh Ramdin (wk), Jerome Taylor, Ravi Rampaul, Sulieman Benn
With the series already in the bag, South Africa will look to use the remaining matches to test their talent pool in international arena. The likes of JP Duminy and Mark Boucher could also be given a chance to regain form, though it remains to be seen what sort of changes the South African think-tank decide to opt for.
South Africa (probable): Graeme Smith (capt), Hashim Amla, Loots Bosman, AB de Villiers (wk), Alviro Petersen, David Miller, Johan Botha, Ryan McLaren, Morne Morkel, Charl Landeveldt, Lonwabo Tsotsobe
Stats and trivia
- South Africa have lost only one ODI to West Indies in the previous five years, winning 14 of the previous 15 matches between the two teams
- AB de Villiers has four hundreds and a fifty in his past eight innings, a spell during which he averages 99.50
- West Indies have been defeated in all three matches held at Windsor Park so far
Quotes"We still have two games to play, and all we can do is keep working hard at it."
Siddarth Ravindran is a sub-editor at Cricinfo© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.