AFP/ Gros-Islet, Saint Lucia
Lungi Ngidi mowed through the lower half of the West Indies batting order on the way to a five-wicket haul as South Africa routed the home side for 97 after they chose to bat first on the opening day of the first Test of the two-match series at the Daren Sammy Cricket Ground in St Lucia yesterday.
South Africa lost their captain Dean Elgar to Kemar Roach without scoring to the fifth ball of their reply but they reached the tea interval without any further alarms at 30 for one.
Elgar’s opening partner Aiden Markram and Keegan Petersen, one of two debutants in the Proteas line-up, will continue the visitors’ effort into the final session of the day. Ngidi’s haul of five for 19 was his second five-wicket innings haul in Test cricket, the bulk of his success coming in the afternoon session after seamer Anrich Nortje pushed the West Indies on the back foot with three of the four wickets to fall in the pre-lunch period and then added another amid the final capitulation to finish with four for 35.
That collapse featured a chaotic period either side of the lunch interval when the West Indies lost five wickets for 11 runs, including three with the score on 56, to be dismissed for their lowest-ever Test innings total against South Africa, falling five runs below their score of 102 in the first Test of the 2010 series in Trinidad, the last time they were on a bi-lateral tour of the West Indies.
Jason Holder was last out for a topscore of 20, giving Ngidi the treasured fifth wicket. It all looked very different though when captain Kraigg Brathwaite and opening partner Shai Hope successfully negotiated a testing first 45 minutes under overcast skies against opening bowlers Kagiso Rabada and Ngidi. But the introduction of Nortje brought almost immediate rewards with Hope bowled by the impressive, accurate seamer to end an opening partnership of 24. He then bowled Brathwaite in his next opener, the phlegmatic right-hander paying the ultimate price for an error of judgement when he opted to offer no shot to a delivering angling into him.
Rabada had toiled impressively at the other end without success, going past the outside edge on at least a dozen occasions until he got the deserved reward of the wicket of Nkrumah Bonner.
Struck flush on the helmet when he was late on a hook shot first ball at Nortje, he could do nothing to a perfectly-pitched delivery from Rabada which took the edge through to wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock.
Bonner has since been diagnosed with concussion and will take no further part in the match. His place in the West Indies eleven has been taken by opening batsman Kieran Powell.
De Kock, leader of South Africa in their previous four Tests, had earlier opted to neither take a knee nor raise a right fist, unlike his teammates on the field before the start of play as the South Africans joined with the West Indies team in acknowledging the global Black Lives Matter movement and their concerns about racism and other forms of discrimination. Nortje returned for a second spell just before lunch and despatched an unsettled Kyle Mayers without too much difficulty and then triggered the final early-afternoon capitulation with the wicket of Jermaine Blackwood. That left Ngidi to feast on the rest of the batting and he did not waste the opportunity, reaping the rewards of a tight, disciplined line in prising out Roston Chase, Joshua da Silva and Roach in quick succession before adding Holder to end the innings.
Brief scores at tea
West Indies 97 all out in 40.5 overs (J. Holder 20, K. Brathwaite 15, S. Hope 15; L. Ngidi 5-19, A. Nortje 4-35) vs South Africa 30 for 1 in 8 overs (K. Peterson 19 n.o., A. Markram 10 n.o.; K. Roach 1-13)
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