West Indies v South Africa, 1st Test, Trinidad, 2nd day June 11, 2010

Boucher and Benn share honours on tight day

The Bulletin by Liam Brickhill

South Africa 352 (Boucher 69, de Villiers 68, Benn 5-120) v West Indies
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Sulieman Benn picked up his second five-wicket haul in Tests, finishing with 5 for 120 as South Africa were eventually bowled out for 352, but the visitors will feel they had the better of an attritional second day at the Queens Park Oval. Twice West Indies had South Africa in real trouble; firstly when nightwatchman Paul Harris and Jacques Kallis fell in quick succession, and then again when Ashwell Prince and AB de Villiers fell within four overs of each other after adding 122 to leave South Africa wobbling at 238 for 7.

But both times the visiting batsmen were able to claw their team back into the game, and Mark Boucher shepherded the tail superbly in registering his 33rd half-century in Tests to quieten questions over his worth in the side. As expected, spin dominated the day's play, with nine wickets falling to slow bowlers as Shane Shillingford finished with figures of 3 for 96 on debut, and Chris Gayle chipped in with the wicket of Prince.

Though there seemed to be considerably less life in the track than there had been in the 34 overs that were possible on the opening day, the welcome sun sapping all moisture out of the pitch, there was still plenty of turn on offer for the finger spinners. Both Benn and Shillingford also made cunning use of variations in flight and turn; Benn darting arm balls in from around the wicket, and Shillingford bowling a delivery close to the doosra, either pitching and going on straight or breaking away slightly.

West Indies' effort in the field also couldn't be faulted. Brendan Nash was exemplary in this regard, throwing himself around athletically to save countless runs and build some pressure on the batsmen. Lapses were few and, until the frustrating 86-run stand for the eighth wicket between Boucher and Dale Steyn, the hosts' body language was positive and their intensity strong.

Rather, credit must go to a thoroughly patient and determined effort from South Africa's middle and lower order. After both of the overnight batsmen fell early - Harris tapping a short ball straight to cover and Kallis shuffling across to the off side only to be struck on the pad in front of the stumps in the 14th over of the day - Gayle kept his spinners operating at both ends, but de Villiers and Prince dug in despite the generous turn in this pitch.

There was still the odd moment of alarm when West Indies thought de Villiers had given Travis Dowlin a bat-pad catch at short leg off Shillingford in the 20th over of the day. But Asad Rauf disagreed, and his decision was upheld even after Gayle had asked for a referral - West Indies' last one for the innings.

Nelon Pascal, who bowled with good rhythm but was underused on Thursday as the spinners found conditions to their liking, started his second spell of the game poorly, but soon found his tempo and West Indies were convinced Prince had edged him through to Ramdin in his third over of the day. There was a faint sound as ball passed bat, and Prince turned back as the ball thudded into Ramdin's gloves, but Steve Davis didn't agree and West Indies had used up all their referrals.

As the batsmen continued to accumulate steadily, what stood out in both of their innings was a fearless use of the feet as they went down the pitch time and again to put the spinners off their rhythm. de Villiers went to 49 with such a shot, sashaying down the track and slapping Benn through the covers with perfect precision, and when both batsmen passed fifty it appeared they had managed to conquer the demons in the pitch.

The partnership was finally broken with what, in hindsight, will be called an inspired piece of captaincy, as Gayle brought himself on in the 54th over of the day and immediately had Prince well caught for 57 by Dowlin at leg gully with his first delivery.

That one over was all the bowling Gayle did, but shortly after the breakthrough Benn floated one up outside off and found enough turn to take the edge of de Villiers' attempted drive. Strangely, de Villiers walked without being given out by umpire Rauf - who hadn't looked like giving that decision - even though South Africa still had a referral at their disposal and his stay at the crease was vital to their building a large first-innings score.

Boucher and Steyn saw off Ravi Rampaul, who bowled an erratic spell with a reverse-swinging old ball, settled when the new ball was taken, and then went on the attack before Steyn charged down the track to be stumped for 39. Benn bowled Morne Morkel soon after for his fifth wicket, but Boucher went to his fifty from 102 balls and added a further 22 before he lofted to long off to give Bravo his first wicket.

South Africa will be buoyed by their team effort, but a lot will now rest on Harris's shoulders as their only specialist slow bowler on a surface which hasn't given fast bowlers nearly the amount of assistance it has to the spinners.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on June 12, 2010, 14:34 GMT

    Do fans still support wi cricket?they allways saying they have a young team,and they getting better,sorry guys i no longer have faith in they way they play,no brain cricket.

  • roy on June 12, 2010, 14:26 GMT

    Thanks Kingwillow for your comment on ABV walking. Its a pity that commentators and commenters don't think likewise. They are cheating just as the batsman who doesn't walk when he knows he snicked.I remember the 1973 WI England tour when Rohan Kanhai that great great W I Batsman of whom nobody ever mentions now and who was captain (again the first great discipinarian W I captain of whom nobody ever gives credit) walked (as he did thru out his career) at the Oval only to find that the English bats didnt.Then when the english umpire gave a not out to a clear snick Rohan called him a ...... cheat and he was fined and within a year sacked !!! Modern bats who dont walk are cheats -no matter what justification they think up! Rohan thanks for the memories and best wishes for your life.

  • Michael on June 12, 2010, 11:55 GMT

    Hey! what is wrong with Liam Brickhills comment about A B deVilliers ?We are living in a real world ,not a perfect nor fantasy world.So Kingwillow and cricketismypassion ,you need to get with it.In this real world,it was indeed surprising to see A B,walked.If he had remained on ,he would NOT have been cheating as suggested by Kingwillow.Walking/not walking is not cheating ,big man!You must and should always wait on the Umpires decison at all times .Furthermore,if you walked before the Umpire gives you out,... in ths REAL WORLD,you could be accused of MATCH FIXING!

  • Luke on June 12, 2010, 10:28 GMT

    Great demonstration of sportsmanship by De Villiers. I was impressed by him when the Saffers were out here in Aus and the return series too. This guy is the future of RSA's batting order for the next 10 years. If Duminy can find his way again, in Amla, De Villiers and Duminy you guys have got a great platform. Can't wait for our next series! Sounds like good fight by WI but I wager that they get rolled for under 250. Dowlin isn't the real deal and while Nash can hang around he won't take the game away from you. Lots of pressure on Harris to spin the ball - if he can't on this pitch he never will. Where is Barath?

  • Ali on June 12, 2010, 9:08 GMT

    I think SA has got enough runs and they're not playing against Aust. Don't be surprised if SA win by an innings because the main problems with W. Indies have been lack of 1) cricketing brains(or even common sense) to read the situation and 2)mental ability to stay at the crease for a long time. You could see this in their body language when SA was recovering through Boucher As their CEO said , they hope to get rid of this virus of out of their cricketers not less than in 3 years. So brace for another knock out punch on the Windies, perhaps within 4 days. GOD SAVE THE W.INDIES TEAM.

  • SRINI on June 12, 2010, 6:15 GMT

    I agree with Kingwillow. It is painful that instead of lauding AB for his sporting behavior, Liam Brickhill is subtly suggesting that since SA were not out of the woods completely AB shd have waited for the umpire's decision. I think it wd be in fitness of things if Mr Brickhill at least retracts his statement.

  • Dummy4 on June 12, 2010, 5:22 GMT

    proves the two theories i had recently right

    1) that we played poorly in the ODIs ... (or rather we played "poorly") because quite simply we've forgotten how to play ODI cricket.

    2) that we have a better test outfit in recent times since we've made great strides in this arena in recent times since players like barath and nash showed up.

    i never cared for the ODI or T20 series.... those were just wasting my time in getting to this... the good stuff... and my oh my i'm not disappointed!!

    i'll place the advantage with SA though because sarwan isn't there, that's our 2nd best player of spin gone. any hopes of avoiding a follow on hinge on chanders now +/- rain +/- a less spin friendly track.

    still fancy a draw more than any other result in this match.

  • Venkata on June 12, 2010, 2:13 GMT

    good comeback from SA and an at-last spirited effort from the WI bowlers. nice to see prince and boucher score fifty. welcome to form for both of them. now its anybody's game. i suspect the WI would target tsotsobe straightaway tomorrow morning and a lot depends on how well harris bowls. it is an golden opportunity for WI to take an tight grip of the test match. if the WI batsmen play sensibly they will surely have an lead of at-least 100. well if steyn and morkel has other ideas its allover for WI.

  • Dummy4 on June 11, 2010, 22:46 GMT

    I expect the batsmen to put their heads down and give it their all in an effort to show that the match is indeed a fairly contested one.

  • Wilfred on June 11, 2010, 22:41 GMT

    Your correspondent, Liam Brickhill, seemed quite surprised, if not perplexed, in writing about AB's dismissal today in Port-of-Spain ... "Strangely, AB de Villiers walked without being given out by umpire Rauf." Mr Brickhill, what is so strange about good sportsmanship ?? In this day and age of cricketing dollars, I guess that putting one over on your opponents by cheating, is what the gentlemen's game of cricket has deteriorated to, huh ? It wasn't so when I played, and it was ingrained at a very early age to play fair, not to cheat, and that the umpire's decision was FINAL. Makes you wonder.

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