Proteas take first day

2008-01-03 00:00

Dale Steyn took four for 60 to give South Africa the upper hand on the first day of the second Castle Lager Test against the West Indies at Newlands yesterday, despite an obdurate 64 not out by Shivnarine Chanderpaul, who batted for just under five hours.

At close of play, the West Indies were 240 for eight.

South Africa made one change to the team that lost to the West Indies in the first Test in Port Elizabeth, with Highveld Lions captain Neil McKenzie coming in for the sadly out of form Herschelle Gibbs.

The West Indies also made one change, with Rawl Lewis coming in for Darren Sammy.

The first session belonged to South Africa, with three wickets falling for just 83 runs — a sharp contrast to the first day of the previous Test, when the visitors made 130 for two, with captain Chris Gayle smashing a lightning 66 off 49 deliveries.

Steyn made the first strike when Daren Ganga was caught behind by Mark Boucher for three in the fifth over.

Gayle and Runako Morton put on 59 for the second wicket, and the West Indies appeared to be taking the game away from the Proteas before Jacques Kallis broke the partnership in his first over. Makhaya Ntini took the catch at deep mid-off to send Morton back on 23.

Gayle once again attacked the South African bowling, and appeared to be heading for his 29th Test 50 when Neil McKenzie took a brilliant catch in the gully to dismiss him off Andre Nel for 46.

Marlon Samuels and Shivnarine Chanderpaul proceeded to frustrate the South Africans — and the crowd of nearly 12 000 — as they battened down the hatches. In the session between lunch and tea, they put on 67 runs. Smith used all his bowlers in an attempt to dislodge one of them, but the two, who contributed nearly half the runs in the West Indies’ first innings total of 408 in Port Elizabeth, appeared impregnable.

However, in the ninth over after tea, Smith brought Ntini back on and finally got the breakthrough South Africa so desperately needed when Samuels was caught behind for 51. He and Chanderpaul shared a fourth wicket stand of 106 off 266 deliveries in nearly three and a half hours.

Ntini struck again in his next over when Jacques Kallis took a low slip catch to send Dwayne Bravo back for nought.

The Newlands field looked very patchy, with large bare patches, and the outfield was extremely slow, so that a number of balls that were well struck failed to reach the boundary. Only 20 boundaries were scored throughout the day. Chanderpaul’s 44th Test 50, which took him four and a quarter hours and 184 balls, included only three fours.

“This is the first Test match I’ve played abroad where the outfield is so thick,” said Samuels.

“We played a lot of shots where we could go for four, but we’d end up hustling to get two. The pitch is not easy.”

The second new ball proved effective, with Steyn taking two wickets in his first over. A superb late-swinging delivery trapped Denesh Ramdin leg before wicket for 21, and with his following delivery he bowled Lewis for nought.

Steyn then changed from the Kelvin Grove end to the Wynberg end, and this also proved effective when Jerome Taylor was unable to cope with a rising delivery and was caught and bowled for eight.

“It was not the target we’d set for ourselves,” said Samuels. “But I think we’re still on the right track. Shiv is still there as a set batter. He will play a very positive role.

“It’s not going to be easy for the South Africans to get runs with the outfield so thick. I think that will put pressure on them.

“We want to get two quick wickets tomorrow and then build a big, big lead,” said McKenzie.

“It looks a really good wicket. We want to bat big, and bat big once. We want some good partnerships — a couple of hundreds and big partnerships.”

— Sapa.

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