Jon Cardinelli reflects on the big moments that shaped day one of the Test at Newlands.
BATSMAN OF THE DAY
Marlon Samuels was the best of the West Indies’ batsmen on day one. Samuels was up for the battle against South African’s most aggressive bowler, Morné Morkel, and ensured that the tourists scored at a rapid rate in the first hour after lunch.
BOWLER OF THE DAY
Simon Harmer did well to keep the run rate down, and to strike at crucial times of the contest. He claimed three top-order scalps, including the prize wicket of Shivnarine Chanderpaul. An exceptional performance by a bowler on Test debut.
SHOT OF THE DAY
Right after lunch, Morné Morkel steamed in from the Kelvin Grove end, and hit a decent length. Marlon Samuels treated the delivery with disdain, moving forward and creaming it back past Morkel to the mid-off fence.
DELIVERY OF THE DAY
Dale Steyn produced a peach of a ball to dismiss Kraigg Brathwaite. The West Indies opener pushed at the full-ish delivery, and only succeeded in edging it to gully.
FAIL OF THE DAY
What was Devon Smith thinking? The West Indies had done brilliantly to survive the South African bowling assault in the first session, and were at that point only one ball away from lunch. Smith gave himself room, in an attempt to hit that ball for four. The ball went on to hit his stumps, and South Africa went to the break with the initiative.
When Dale Steyn caught Denesh Ramdin off his own bowling, he overtook Makhaya Ntini as the second-best bowler on South Africa’s all-time list. It was his 391st wicket, still some way behind Shaun Pollock on 421.
STAT OF CONCERN
At the start of the series, Shivnarine Chanderpaul was identified as the West Indies danger man by the Proteas. Unfortunately for the tourists, he has only scored 37 runs in three innings, at an average of 12.33.
Morné Morkel was in excellent form on day one, but received no reward for his efforts. His appeals for lbw (one involving Leon Johnson that looked to be out) were turned down. The West Indies batsmen fended at the deliveries aimed at the body, but as many as four chances landed just out of a close fielder’s reach.
A POOR TRADE-OFF
You have to wonder why the Newlands groundsman hasn’t done more to prepare a pitch that benefits Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander, and Morné Morkel. The rumour in the press box is that the authorities desperately want this Test to last the five days, and that this is why the track is so flat and batsman-friendly. Five full days of cricket equals more revenue. Unfortunately, this dilutes the South African bowlers’ potency and detracts from the contest.
Morné Morkel will still be fuming. At the start of his innings, Leon Johnson wore an express delivery on his pads. The on-field umpire said ‘not out’, which prompted the South Africans to review the decision. Hawk-Eye suggested that half the ball would have struck the wickets, but this was not enough to reverse the on-field decision. The South Africans were denied a wicket, and also lost one of their reviews. The review system needs revision.