Proteas’ brutally beautiful batting

2015-01-29 00:00

CARNAGE, slaughter, brilliant — there are no words to describe the Proteas’ batting performance in the fifth and final ODI against the West Indies at Centurion yesterday as they smashed 361-5 in 42 overs at a rate of 8,59.

Starting two-and-a-half hours later than the scheduled 1.30 pm start due to rain and drizzle, those who stayed were treated to something more than special, something beautiful in its brutality. Winning the toss, West Indies captain Jason Holder asked the Proteas to bat, a decision which proved a suicide mission.

Hashim Amla captained the ­Proteas as AB de Villiers was rested and Quinton de Kock returned to the top of the order after an ankle injury. Marchant de Lange came in for a ­rested Morné Morkel and the ­Windies brought in Narsingh Deonarine for Leon Johnson.

De Kock went early and Faf du Plessis perished for 16, leaving the Proteas on 59-2 after 9.5 overs. The next success the Windies enjoyed came in the 35th over and 247 runs later as Amla (133) and Rilee Rossouw (132) added a record third-wicket partnership for the Proteas, the same number of runs they added in their first-wicket record at the Wanderers in the third ODI.

The West Indian bowlers had no answer, bowling either too short or too wide, giving away 30 extras in the innings. After a cautious start, ­Rossouw cut loose, reaching his ­second ODI century in 83 balls, having taken 60 balls to reach fifty. The classy Amla took 92 balls for his 19th ODI three-figure score and 49 balls for the half century. Toward the end of the innings, no bowler was spared.

From 250 to 300, it took a mere 13 balls. Finally, on 306, Rossouw was taken by Jonathan Carter at deep mid-wicket, Amla following with the score on 330 when he dragged one onto his stumps from the expensive Andre Russell.

David Miller made a quickfire 23 from nine balls and JP Duminy finished with a six to end on 18 from seven balls. The last 15 overs of the Protea innings gleaned 211 runs.

The Windies were left reeling when Chris Gayle was out first ball and from there it was a matter of how far down the line the Windies would get. A second-wicket partnership of 77 gave vain hope and at the time of ­going to press, they were 116-3, needing 246 to win from 120 balls.

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