At Centurion, December 17-20, 2014. South Africa won by an innings and 220 runs. Toss: West Indies. Test debut: S. van Zyl.
Dale Steyn succumbs to profanity as easily as the rest of us, but not when he is in the presence of something sacred. "I wish I could swear," he said after taking six for 34 to propel South Africa to victory with more than five sessions unused. After going wicket less in the first innings, Steyn was trying to articulate his love for Test cricket. "I want to take all ten, all 20," he said. "I won't lie."
Ramdin had won the toss under cloudy skies, and made what might have been the bullish decision to field. But West Indies' inclusion of a spinner, Benn, while the South Africans put all their eggs in the pace basket, suggested a captain who had little faith in his batsmen. Steyn's second-innings bowling confirmed Ramdin's fears. He was one edge of the claymore South Africa used to fell the tourists; the other was Amla, who made 208 in eight hours of batting as typically understated as it was difficult for the bowlers to fathom.
West Indies lost their best chance after tea on the first day when Roach, who had rattled Amla's off stump on 25 without dislodging a bail, left the field with an ankle injury. He had been the only member of the pace attack to look the part, and taken two of the three wickets that fell in 15 deliveries with South Africa marooned on 57. He played no further part in the series.
South Africa batted into the next afternoon before declaring at 552. De Villiers's 152 - his 20th Test century - shimmered with his inventive flamboyance, and his stand of 308 with Amla was a South African fourth-wicket record, knocking off the surprisingly modest 249 of Gary Kirsten and Jacques Kallis against West Indies at Durban in 2003-04. Finally Stiaan van Zyl, the 27-year-old Cape Cobras left-hander, marked his debut with a sturdy 101 not out.
A thunderstorm prevented an immediate resumption after the declaration, and South Africa began the third day with neither du Plessis (because of a virus) and de Kock, who had turned an ankle during the warm-up and would sit out the remaining Tests. After tea, Steyn and Philander also left the field with aches and pains. That forced South Africa to call on Sean Phillips and Danie Rossouw, two local teenagers, to help in the field. Robin Peterson and Temba Bavuma had been the first substitutes used and, when South Africa's resources were stretched even more thinly, Allan Donald - their bowling coach - donned his whites. Why did he not get the call ahead of the two teenagers? "We knew we wouldn't get the ball out of his hand," said South Africa's team manager Mohammed Moosajee.
Despite all that, West Indies were following on 351 behind shortly after tea; Philander and Morkel had taken seven wickets between them. Two more went down before stumps, and Steyn took six of the seven to fall for 44 on the fourth morning.
Man of the Match: H. M. Amla.