Proteas in charge
Windies facing daunting three days
CENTURION –– South African captain Hashim Amla scored 208 as South Africa continued to pile on the agony on day two of the first Test against the West Indies in Centurion today, declaring on 552 for 5 before rain intervened to save the visitors late evening blushes.
Amla and A.B. de Villiers resumed their unbroken stand of 283 in the morning, having both reached three figures yesterday in leading South Africa’s recovery from 57 for 3.
The pair added just 25 more runs before De Villiers sliced one to backward point off beanpole left-arm orthodox spinner Suleiman Benn when he was on 152. The ball from Benn was lavishly flighted and turned and bounced just a tad, but there was nothing malevolent in the delivery. De Villiers, seeking to carve it through the off side, could only pick out Jermaine Blackwood.
West Indies had picked up a wicket but there was no sense that it might change the nature of the day. Four frontline bowlers and Roach, arguably the best of them, already off the field injured with the recurrence of an ankle injury. Taylor bowled within himself, anticipating a long day. Even allowing for West Indies’ decline, they had rarely seemed as impotent as this.
But undeterred by West Indies’ struggles Amla kicked on with his job –– going through to his third Test double hundred –– as did South Africa, with Stiaan van Zyl (101 not out) scoring a century in a 155-run partnership with his skipper for the fifth wicket.
Van Zyl became the fifth South African to score a Test hundred on debut, but his day could have been very different if Kraigg Brathwaite had not dropped him on two at backward short leg.
It was his 25th ball at the crease having scratched around for just two runs, but given the lifeline, he cashed in, with some handsome drives through the covers during his knock.
Amla at the other end was at his untroubled best, cruising through the gears before holing out to mid-on off Benn as he looked to up the ante with a declaration in his thoughts. Amla was dropped off Taylor on 180 by Blackwood, leaping at midwicket and, on 205, Sheldon Cotterrell jagged one back over the top of his off stump, a sight that stirred the interest of South Africa’s attack. His poise was also briefly threatened by a malfunctioning sight-screen. There were many neat moments, too, and when that double hundred came, his wristy flick off Cotterrell through square leg could hardly have been seemed more matter of fact.
Amla was Benn’s second wicket from a heavy workload of 46 overs, being one of only three front-line bowlers for the visitors after the ankle injury to Kemar Roach yesterday.
The Proteas middle-order took full advantage with Quinton de Kock (18 not out) coming in and smashing a pair of huge sixes before Amla called the batsmen in.
South Africa were denied the chance to make inroads into the West Indies line-up with heavy rain falling and wiping out the prospects of play in the final session.
When the West Indies openers do take to the middle they will have a formidable looking four-man pace attack of Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, Vernon Philander and Kyle Abbott to contend with.
South Africa 1st Innings
A Petersen c Smith b Roach 27
D Elgar c Samuels b Cotterrell 28
F du Plessis c Ramdin b Roach 0
H Amla* c Taylor b Benn 208
AB de Villiers c Blackwood b Benn 152
S van Zyl not out 101
Q de Kock+ not out 18
Total: 340/3 (91 Overs)
Extras: (b 3, lb 5, w 2, nb 1) 11
Did not Bat: V Philander, D Steyn, M Morkel, K Abbott.
Fall of Wickets: 1-57 (Petersen, 13.3 ov), 2-57 (Elgar, 14.4 ov), 3-57 (du Plessis, 15.5 ov), 4-365 (de Villiers, 99.1 ov), 5-520 (Amla, 135.6 ov).
West Indies 1st Innings Bowling: Taylor 26.1-5-108-0, S Cotterrell 28-1-124-1, K Roach 15.5-4-52-2, S Benn 46-7-148-2, M Samuels 20-0-89-0, K Brathwaite 1-0-2-0, J Blackwood 3.3-0-15-0.