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The Bulletin by Siddhartha Talya
June 28, 2010
Shivnarine Chanderpaul, yet again, was left waging a lone battle for the hosts following a sorry collapse of their top and the middle orders that has taken them perilously close to another series defeat. The capitulation was as much a consequence of South Africa's superiority as of the recklessness shown by some of the West Indian batsmen.
South Africa's first innings lead of 115 was lower than what they had expected. But, as it turned out, it was a handful for a batting line-up that was undone by senseless shot-making in the early stages followed by some crafty spin. West Indies began their second innings on a confident note, with openers Dale Richards and Chris Gayle, finding the boundary by relying on timing rather than power. But the innings soon took a predictable turn, triggered by an aggressive intent that cast aside any determination to survive.
Richards began his innings with a crunched four off Dale Steyn through cover, and followed it up with a back-foot punch two overs later. There was a play and a miss, and a streaky boundary through gully, with Gayle at the other end frequently walking up to his partner to remind him of the job at hand.
West Indies, also playing with two spinners, would have hoped to cobble up enough runs to challenge a side batting fourth on a deteriorating pitch, and level the series. But that objective was lost on two batsmen in the top order. Richards spooned a catch off a mistimed pull off Steyn, and Narsingh Deonarine, inexplicably, tried an expansive drive first ball, only to be caught by Ashwell Prince, perfectly positioned at short extra cover. Though denied a hat-trick, Steyn returned to surprise Gayle with some inward movement and extra bounce, producing an edge to Mark Boucher.
Chanderpaul and Brendan Nash, centurions from the previous Test, battled hard before tea but it was only a matter of time before the spinners began troubling them by targeting the widening cracks on the pitch. Chanderpaul was beaten on a few occasions when Johan Botha, picked in place of seamer Lonwabo Tsotsobe, got the ball to spit from the rough just outside the left-hander's off stump. While Chanderpaul saw off moments of uncertainty with the occasional boundary, Nash found the bowling harder to combat. Botha, continuing on his success from the first innings, snared him when he pushed fatally to one that turned away sharply, nicking to slip.
Like in the first innings, Paul Harris kept one end tight with his left-arm spin while bowling in tandem with Botha, and nipped out Dwayne Bravo. Bowling round the wicket, Harris got the ball to shoot away, squaring up Bravo who defended but failed to prevent the ball from bouncing back onto the stumps. When Denesh Ramdin, irresponsibly, slashed at a top-spinner from Botha the next over to be snapped by Boucher, it appeared West Indies were on their way to a three-day humiliation.
Shane Shillingford was far from convincing against spin and a fiery spell that followed from the seamers, who began a short-ball barrage. He edged between the slips and almost gifted a catch to Steyn but, guided by Chanderpaul, gradually grew in confidence. Chanderpaul latched on to a couple of scoring opportunities, bringing up another half-century in a crisis with a dab through gully and helping West Indies erase their deficit. But a quicker delivery from Botha broke the stand, as Shillingford, playing for the spin, was struck on the back leg dead in front shortly before stumps.
Sulieman Benn had earlier provided a glimpse of the kind of assistance on offer for the spinners, teasing the South African lower order with his variations to finish with his third haul of five or more wickets.
Prince survived an early shout for a catch, after the ball lobbed off his glove, but remained firm thereafter to help extend his team's lead towards the three-figure mark. Benn, though, ensured the frustration didn't last long, seeing off Botha with serious turn and having Morne Morkel caught at slip with one that held its line.
West Indies had been given an opening with the run-out of Boucher - on the second attempt, after the first had been missed by Ramdin - following a mid-pitch collision. Before Benn rounded things off, he was involved in an altercation with Dale Steyn, who, after being bowled by Kemar Roach, appeared to spit on the ground as he passed Benn.
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