Dale Steyn’s quickfire 58 allowed the Proteas to declare at 417-8 shortly after lunch on day three at St George’s Park.
Steyn’s cameo has seen the Proteas regaining the initiative. While there is a threat of rain on days four and five, South Africa are in a position to dismiss West Indies twice and take an unassailable lead in this Test series.
The morning session belonged to the West Indies bowlers, as they succeeded in claiming four South African wickets and limiting the hosts to just 80 runs. Immediately after the break, Steyn and Vernon Philander went on the offensive.
Steyn was the chief destroyer during this period, playing some exceptional strokes. He took 26 deliveries to reach his half-century and break the record for the fastest Test 50 at St George’s Park. Steyn’s six fours and five sixes boosted South Africa to 417, and when he was eventually dismissed for 58, Proteas captain Hashim Amla signalled the declaration.
The West Indies should feel disappointed with their efforts after lunch. They did so well during the morning session, dismissing Amla and then AB de Villiers inside the first 25 minutes of play.
Jason Holder got a length delivery to come back at Amla, and trap him lbw. De Villiers then played around a full ball by Jerome Taylor. That delivery did just enough to move away from De Villiers and send his off-stump cartwheeling towards the slips.
Taylor persisted with an excellent line and length, while Shannon Gabriel cranked up the pace at the other end. Debutant Temba Bavuma struggled to cope with the latter, and eventually gloved an especially vicious delivery to wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin.
While Amla, De Villiers, and Bavuma were victims of fine bowling, Stiaan van Zyl was the architect of his own demise. The left-handed batsman attempted to up the scoring rate, and succeeded to a degree by striking a couple of boundaries. Unfortunately for the Proteas, Van Zyl was out for 29 when he mistimed an ambitious drive and nicked the ball to Ramdin.
After lunch, Philander and Steyn revived the hosts’ innings with a partnership worth 69 runs. The Proteas will now look to dismiss the visitors cheaply, and enforce the follow-on.
DAY THREE SCORECARD
SA 1st innings – 417-8 declared (Dean Elgar 121, Faf du Plessis 103, Dale Steyn 58, Shannon Gabriel 2-80)