Jon Cardinelli reflects on the big moments that shaped day four of the Test at St George’s Park.
BATSMAN OF THE DAY
The 22-year-old Kraigg Brathwaite was the most composed and convincing of the West Indies batsmen, and deserved his century.
BOWLER OF THE DAY
Morné Morkel was in top form throughout the day, bowling with aggression and control. The big man succeeded in pinning Marlon Samuels on a couple of occasions, and claimed some key scalps for the Proteas. Morkel finished the day with figures of 4-69.
SHOT OF THE DAY
Marlon Samuels may not have been as consistent as Kraigg Brathwaite in approach and temperament, but he was nevertheless a joy to watch. Samuels used his feet well against Imran Tahir, and the shot that launched one delivery over the long on boundary and beyond the grandstand was the best of the day.
DELIVERY OF THE DAY
The hapless Dale Steyn produced the delivery of the day, and was unlucky not to claim the prize scalp of opening batsman Kraigg Brathwaite. The length was excellent; the ball hit the shoulder of Brathwaite’s bat and ballooned towards the slip cordon. Unfortunately, for Steyn, Faf du Plessis couldn’t hang on to the catch.
HIT OF THE DAY
The batsmen wore several Morné Morkel deliveries on the body. The most vicious of these was the ball that hit Marlon Samuels on the back of the helmet. Picking up the angle and length of the delivery, Samuels decided that he wanted no part of it. He took his eye off the ball, and turned to take evasive action. He was fortunate not to be injured.
TURN OF FORTUNE
Imran Tahir bowled poorly on day three and in the first session of day four. When the game broke for tea, the South African leg-spinner’s figures were 0-96 in 23 overs. Following the interval, he ripped through the West Indies middle and lower order. His post tea figures were 3-12.
CALL OF THE DAY
Hashim Amla’s decision to persist with Imran Tahir. The leg-spinner did not trouble the likes of Kraigg Brathwaite and Marlon Samuels, and looked to be struggling with his length. Even after both of those batsmen were dismissed, Amla may well have looked to his seamers to make further inroads. Instead, he backed Tahir in that crucial period after tea, and was rewarded for his faith.
FAIL OF THE DAY
Faf fu Plessis will be having nightmares about that missed chance at third slip. It did not cost the Proteas many runs, as Kraigg Brathwaite was dismissed not long after. But Du Plessis could have done better to get into a good position and pouch that catch.
STAT OF CONCERN
The West Indies were cruising at 231-2 with Kraigg Brathwaite and Marlon Samuels well set. They then lost both men in quick succession, and five further wickets after tea. The West Indies have lost their last seven wickets for 44 runs.
RACE AGAINST TIME
More than a day-and-a-half has been lost due to the inclement weather and bad light. The recent collapse will have given South Africa hope that a result is still possible, but the rain may yet have the final say on day five.