Jon Cardinelli reflects on the big moments that shaped day four of the Test at Centurion.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Hashim Amla’s 208 took the game away from the West Indies. There were important contributions from AB de Villiers (152), debutant Stiaan van Zyl (101no), as well as the bowlers Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander, but the quality and the importance of Amla’s innings shouldn’t be underestimated.
BATSMAN OF THE DAY
Jermaine Blackwood was the best of a bad West Indies bunch. The diminutive yet plucky character played some good strokes, dispatching the likes of Dale Steyn and Morné Morkel to the boundary.
BOWLER OF THE DAY
Who said that Dale Steyn can’t bowl to left-handers? Two of Steyn’s six victims were lefties, and specialist batsmen too. Steyn removed Leon Johnson and the danger man, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, with a couple of brilliant deliveries.
FIELDER OF THE DAY
AB de Villiers took three catches behind the stumps, and few will doubt the one that dismissed Denesh Ramdin was the best of the lot. Dale Steyn found the edge of Ramdin’s bat, and the ball seemed to be travelling towards first slip. De Villiers took off like a goal-keeper, stuck his right hand out, and caught the ball in the webbing of his glove.
SHOT OF THE DAY
Jermaine Blackwood was aggressive despite the West Indies’ dire situation. He was quickly onto one wide Morné Morkel delivery, spanking it behind square for four.
DELIVERY OF THE DAY
Dale Steyn bowled at an express pace and with intent to hurt throughout the morning session. The ball that dismissed Shivnarine Chanderpaul, however, was particularly quick and ugly. The ball rose sharply off a length, caught the left-handed batsman on the glove, and then ballooned to AB de Villiers for a simple catch.
MILESTONE OF THE DAY
Dale Steyn’s 6-34 performance at Centurion was his 25th five-wicket haul in Test cricket.
STAT OF CONCERN
72 – the number of runs Kraigg Brathwaite and Devon Smith accumulated for the first wicket in the West Indies’ first innings. This was the visitors’ best partnership in the game.
Kemar Roach was unable to bat in the first Test due to an ankle injury, and is in doubt for the rest of the series. Considering the impact Roach made with the ball on day one at Centurion, the West Indies will miss him in the coming games.
KEEPING DEBATE REVISITED
Quinton de Kock has been ruled out for the rest of the Test series, which means South Africa will need to settle on a replacement. AB de Villiers stood in for De Kock at Centurion, and may be handed the gloves once again at St Georges Park.