Hat-trick hero Maharaj wins it for Proteas

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Keshav Maharaj picked up a hat-trick as he ripped through the West Indies middle order with five wickets to help his side to an emphatic 158-run victory in the second Test in Saint Lucia on Monday.
Keshav Maharaj picked up a hat-trick as he ripped through the West Indies middle order with five wickets to help his side to an emphatic 158-run victory in the second Test in Saint Lucia on Monday.
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Keshav Maharaj became only the second South African to take a Test hat-trick as he ripped through the West Indies middle order with five wickets to help his side to an emphatic 158-run victory in the second Test in Saint Lucia on Monday.

South Africa, who claimed the series 2-0 after winning the opening game by an innings and 63 runs, bowled out their hosts for 165 in pursuit of a victory target of 324 on the fourth day at the Daren Sammy Cricket Ground.

The home side were in the game at 107 for three when left-arm spinner Maharaj (5-36) claimed the scalp of Kieran Powell (51), who tried to launch him to the midwicket boundary but picked out lone fielder Anrich Nortje.

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The world’s top-ranked Test all-rounder Jason Holder was caught by short-leg Keegan Petersen first ball, and Wiaan Mulder took an excellent diving catch at leg-slip off Joshua Da Silva to complete the hat-trick and spark wild South African celebrations.

It was just the second Test hat-trick in the country’s history, after seamer Geoff Griffin managed the feat against England at Lord’s in 1960.

West Indies had started the day on 15 without loss, but lost captain Kraigg Brathwaite (6) early as he edged Kagiso Rabada (3-44) to his opposing skipper Dean Elgar at first slip.

Rabada accounted for Shai Hope (2) and had Kyle Mayers (34) plumb lbw off a no-ball, but later did pick up the wicket of the attacking left-hander with Elgar catching a skier.

The astonishing hat-trick on the stroke of lunch by Maharaj left the West Indies’ second innings in tatters as they crashed to 109 for six at lunch on the fourth day at the Daren Sammy Cricket Stadium.

There was little to suggest what might come when the home side reached 107 for three after Rabada claimed the first three wickets to undermine the run chase of 324 to square the series.

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Opener Powell reached his fine 51 from 116 balls (9x4) when he inexplicably played a slog-sweep against Maharaj and directly picked out the only man on the legside boundary – Nortje completing a routine catch.

Holder then pushed forward to the next ball which did not spin, flicked the inside edge of the tall right hander’s bat and was smartly caught by Petersen at short leg.

A jubilant Maharaj could hardly contain his delight – but there was more to come with the hat-trick ball.

It drifted in towards Da Silva forcing the West Indian wicketkeeper to play a shot.

But again, it carried on drifting rather than turning away from the right hander and his tentative leg-glance was superbly caught by Mulder, diving to his right at leg slip to take a one-handed stunner.

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Rabada began another disastrous session for the home side when captain Brathwaite (6) edged a leg-cutter to Proteas skipper Dean Elgar at slip.

Hope had no answer to a searing bouncer which deflected off his arm-guard to Aiden Markram at second slip. But was it only the arm-guard? Rabada was convinced it touched the glove first and persuaded captain Elgar to refer the not out decision to the third umpire. Replays showed a clear touch on the glove first.

Mayers, despite being trapped lbw first ball by a Rabada no-ball, had looked in excellent form for his 34 from 56 balls (4x4) before a bizarre rush of blood to the head saw him play a rash pull shot against a Rabada delivery too full for the shot and the top edge duly flew straight up and landed softly in the hands of Elgar running back from slip.

The Windies were clearly unlikely to win the game and in the end the South Africans had both Maharaj and Rabada to thank for devastating bowling on the day.

The teams will play a five-match Twenty20 International series starting on Saturday.

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