West Indies v South Africa, 2nd Test, St Kitts

West Indies under pressure to turn the corner

The Preview by Kanishkaa Balachandran

June 17, 2010

Comments: 27 | Text size: A | A

Match facts

June 18-22, 2010
Start time 10.00am (14.00GMT)

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Darren Bravo gets into the World Cup spirit during training, St Kitts, June 16, 2010
Will Darren Bravo make his Test debut and make a difference to an under-performing middle order? © AFP
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Seven games into the tour and West Indies still don't know how to beat South Africa, irrespective of the format. This West Indies team is a pale shadow of the one that fought bravely in Australia just a few months ago. Injuries to key players like Ramnaresh Sarwan and Fidel Edwards may have pegged their fortunes back a bit, but unfortunately, the other senior players look a deflated bunch. The intimidation from Chris Gayle is missing, so is the stodgy resistance from Shivnarine Chanderpaul.

Their capitulation for 102 in the first Test at Trinidad was a sorry sight, after their bowlers did a decent job to restrict South Africa to 352. Nelon Pascal is not a batsman, but his dismissal in both innings - attempting a one-legged Caribbean style hoick - was a comical, yet depressing sight if you were a West Indies supporter. Besides him, the specialists at the top were out bowled shouldering arms, Narsingh Deonarine's first-innings dismissal a case in point. Such shots don't give confidence that the team is out there to fight it out.

Despite that abject display, an unchanged team was named for the second Test. With the A team away in England, there wouldn't have been a large pool of players to pick from. The best they can do is to slot batsmen in positions they're more familiar with. Given their poor form, a draw at St Kitts will be as good as a victory. For inspiration, they need to run tapes of the Adelaide Test late last year when Chris Gayle carried his bat in the second innings to put his team in front.

South Africa on the hand have fewer worries and credit should go to the way Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel have forged such a deadly combination with the new ball. The slow pitches in the Caribbean haven't made them any less lethal. They showed what the home side lacked - bowlers with raw pace. The visitors, apart from catching up with the World Cup action at home, also celebrated their national youth day by coaching youngsters at a clinic at Warner Park.

Form guide (last five completed matches)

West Indies LLDLL
South Africa WLWWD

Watch out for...

Chris Gayle: The West Indies captain was talked about at length during the one-dayers on how his performances have a direct influence on the way the team plays. If he fires, the side's uplifted, but if he doesn't, the rest throw in the towel. Ideally, at least one among the others in the middle order will have to put his hand up and cover the slack. If Gayle has to show more responsibility, he can adopt a change in approach and shed his attacking instincts a bit. If he minimises the risks, he can bat longer and drop anchor, allowing the rest to bat around him. The Adelaide Test is an example of the recent past. Gayle has done it before and now it's his chance to lead by example.

Paul Harris: His role in Trinidad was made redundant with Steyn and Morkel hogging most of the wickets. He was preferred to Johan Botha for the Test, despite not being in sparkling form in the last few Tests. If the pitch takes turn, Harris could play an important role. Coach Corrie van Zyl identified some technical problems in Harris' action and said he would work on it to help him get more turn.

Team news

Kemar Roach, probably the fastest bowler in the region, was retained after missing the first game and the assumption is he has recovered from an ankle injury. If he's fit, he should walk in, replacing either Pascal or Ravi Rampaul. The under-performing middle order will worry West Indies, so there's a chance for Darren Bravo to come in place of probably Deonarine. Brendan Nash could be pushed down the order to No.5, where he's more comfortable.

West Indies (likely) 1 Chris Gayle (capt), 2 Travis Dowlin, 3 Shivnarine Chanderpaul, 4 Darren Bravo/Narsingh Deonarine, 5 Brendan Nash, 6 Dwayne Bravo (vice-capt), 7 Denesh Ramdin (wk), 8 Sulieman Benn, 9 Shane Shillingford, 10 and 11 two among Ravi Rampaul/Kemar Roach/Nelon Pascal

South Africa are likely to play the same team. van Zyl said Harris will not be replaced by any other spinner.

South Africa (likely) 1 Graeme Smith (capt), 2 Alviro Petersen, 3 Jacques Kallis, 4 AB de Villiers, 5 Hashim Amla, 6 Ashwell Prince, 7 Mark Boucher (wk), 8 Paul Harris, 9 Dale Steyn, 10 Morne Morkel, 11 Lonwabo Tsotsobe

Pitch and conditions

The short boundaries at Warner Park could lead to a high-scoring Test, if the pitch is conducive enough. Rain intervened in Trinidad and showers are forecast for St Kitts too.

Stats and Trivia

  • This venue has hosted only one Test so far, between West Indies and India in 2006. Centuries by Daren Ganga and Sarwan took West Indies to 581 and the bowlers put India under pressure, restricting India to below the follow-on target. West Indies opted to bat on and the game drifted towards a draw.

  • West Indies last beat South Africa in an international match in 2007, the Port Elizabeth Test. Since then, the losing streak stands at 17, across all formats.

  • There are milestones to be achieved - Jacques Kallis needs another 89 for 11,000 Test runs, Graeme Smith another 88 for 7000 runs and Gayle another 73 for 6000 runs.

Quotes

"Before the first Test, we spoke about the fact that we were going to be tested, not having played Test cricket for quite a while. In a three-Test series the next match is just as crucial. We can't afford to take our foot off the gas at all."
Graeme Smith

"The batsmen can improve and a few of those 50s and 60s should have been centuries. I was impressed, however, with the manner in which we fought back after losing three wickets late on the first afternoon."
Corrie van Zyl reflects on the first Test

"We have to believe in ourselves and play good, hard cricket.We have to try and make the necessary adjustments for the next Test match."
Chris Gayle

Kanishkaa Balachandran is a sub-editor at Cricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Silva-Surfa on (June 18, 2010, 15:00 GMT)

Can't believe the selectors only made one change to the final eleven. Darren Bravo is ignored yet again, Dowlin who looked like a rabbit in headlights gets another chance. And Rampaul who was wicketless and completely non-threatening with his wayward miltary-medium pace in Trinidad, gets another opportunity again. If i was Pascal, i would feel hard-done by, because he didn't bowl too badly, considering it was his debut. I don't hold much hope with this team, unless there's a individual bit of brilliance from somewhere, we are never able to compete collectively as a team. I would love them to prove me wrong, but i very much doubt it.

Posted by umpire on (June 18, 2010, 13:51 GMT)

Chris Gayle does not show leadership at the crease. He's all flash and dash.

There are times, in my opinion, when he should bat lower in the order where, when the sheen is off the ball, he can capitalise and pummel the opposition to smitherines, which he, as we all know, is quite capable of.

I'm deeply disappointed to see West Indies cricket reaching such lows.

Posted by rogist on (June 18, 2010, 13:13 GMT)

i want to knnow y sammy is not in the side an y is rampaul doing playing cricket for the wi the man is not a bowler,gayle needs to bat at #4 what about smith an richards should open the battingthen chand at 3

Posted by   on (June 18, 2010, 10:48 GMT)

WI cricket is nothing much. There is no proper system in place. We are loser and we are looking to stay that way. If ICC take our test status, we do not care. As long there is a party some where. Two spinner in the test in Trinidad(we do not ever have one that come close of mastering the art of bowling spin. Most of our boys is too fat (rampal,deonarine). There is need for tall and slim fast bowlers.(do a search) Our batsman mentality is to swing. Batsmen need to survive in the crease for a period of time then start playing shots. Our batmen wants to play shot then survive. I don't even want to pick a squad for the upcoming test,since there is not a proper 14 to choose from. GO back with 11 batmen which five is fast bowlers, a SPINNER, wkt-keeper (open the batting.) note fast bowler should stop playing football and learn the technique of batting. WE WILL START TO WIN.........................

Posted by ranpath on (June 18, 2010, 10:32 GMT)

In with the new and out with the old. Why do we keep picking these 30-something players who we can only get maybe 2 or 3 good years from ( e.g. nash, richards ) or who cannot cope at this level ( e.g. Dowlin, reifer ). Go with the young players ( below 25 ) who may lose at first but after a few years of playing will surely gain the experience to become a top notch side. On another note commentator Cozier was very vocal about ramdin exposing the tailenders to the bowling too quickly. I would like to suggest to the gentleman to check the archives and witness to chandrepaul's guilt in regard to this. Finally much has been made of the dual spin attack that the wi now have. People please i have seen the two gentlemen play quite often. I am sorry to say that we are acting under an illusion...because unless the wicket offers assistance these two pretenders are ineffectual.

Posted by CricketingStargazer on (June 18, 2010, 9:35 GMT)

What can one say that is remotely new? Sides have gone through slumps before, but this is something on an unprecedented scale. Apart from a series where an England side in turmoil was ambushed and the series finished on completely dead surfaces where batsmen racked-up immense scores (and even then the West Indies only barely survived), the West Indies haven't looked like winning a Test or a series for a long time. Their slump is getting Zimbabwe-like, pre-withdraw from Tests. The question is soon going to be "how long will the big sides want to continue playing this side?" Right now, painful as it may sound, they need to spend two or three years playing and beating Bangladesh, Zimbabwe and New Zealand before their Test status starts coming into jeopardy. The public won't like it. The players won't llike it, but they need to start learning to win again and quickly.

Posted by NICKPMB on (June 18, 2010, 9:18 GMT)

Regarding milestones, what about Mark Boucher, 2 more wickets and becomes first w/keeper to get to 500 test wickets, will that ever be beaten in the history of the game..

Posted by Bamber on (June 18, 2010, 9:01 GMT)

I watched Tino Best racing in and bowling at 90mph in Yorks v lancs 20/20 last night at Headingley. He seems to have fallen out of contention for WI - is there a particular reason? Surely WI need to get more pace into their attack.

Posted by AMowlana on (June 18, 2010, 7:14 GMT)

Dear Cricinfo Reporters, I read all the comments and they are facutal about W.Indies All seem to come from their hearts. But the thing is no one in WICB will take note of it seriously. Cricnfo can do a great favour to the W.Indies cricket by taking all these articles, using your journalistic skills, summarize all these comments send to the WICB to hit where it matters. I donno which nut in Digicel got them into a mess of sponsoring the present Windies cricket. Their product/services will be deemed as good as the present Windies team. I urge all sponsors of Windies cricket to immediately withdraw. There is nothing left and no hope. Windies team is bankrupt and needs close down. PLEASE PLEASE PUBLISH THIS.

Posted by BellCurve on (June 18, 2010, 6:16 GMT)

@ Kanishkaa Balachandran - good overview; would like to make one addition to the milestones you have mentioned -- Boucher is just 2 dismissals away from becoming the first wicketkeeper to reach 500 dismissals in Tests. For some reason his achievements are seldom mentioned. On the contrarary, most pundits seem to want to get rid of him, which I find bizarre.

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