Imran Tahir and Morné Morkel ripped through the West Indies’ lower order to reduce the tourists to 275-9 on day four at St George’s Park.
The West Indies continue to disappoint with their lack of consistency. They played so well for the majority of the first session on day four, with Kraigg Brathwaite (106) and Marlon Samuels (101) amassing 176 for the third wicket and steering the visitors clear of the follow-on. However, once these two departed, the middle and lower order failed to show the same composure or determination.
Imran Tahir’s comeback was impressive. Brathwaite and Samuels had hit the leg-spinner to all corners of the park, and not many would have expected Proteas skipper Hashim Amla to back Tahir in that crucial period after tea.
Tahir proceeded to remove West Indies captain Denesh Ramdin and danger man Shivnarine Chanderpaul in the space of two balls. The very next over, Morné Morkel dismissed Jason Holder.
Sulieman Benn perished when he attempted to hit Tahir over the top and only succeeded in finding an edge. As if poor shot selection wasn’t bad enough, Jerome Taylor and Kenroy Peters then conspired to hand South Africa another wicket via a run out. Peters was caught short of his ground, and it was only another spell of rain that saved the West Indies from losing their final wicket in that period. As it was, they lost five wickets for 30 runs in the 10 overs after tea.
The bad weather has worked to the tourists’ advantage over the course of this match. It delayed the start of play on day four, and returned at the exact moment in the final session when the Proteas were moving in for the kill.
Play was eventually called off at St George’s Park when the conditions failed to improve. This means that the Proteas will require a further wicket on day five before they can set about adding to their lead. They will then need to claim 10 West Indies wickets.
Unfortunately for the hosts, more rain is expected on day five. There may be further disruptions and more time lost as a result.
With that abject batting performance during the latter stages of day four, the West Indies have conspired to keep the Proteas’ slim chances of victory alive. However, it is likely that the weather will have the final say in this contest, and that it will end in a draw.
DAY FOUR SCORECARD
SA 1st innings – 417-8 dec (Dean Elgar 121, Faf du Plessis 103, Shannon Gabriel 2-80)
West Indies 1st innings – 275-9 (Kraigg Brathwaite 106, Marlon Samuels 101, Morné Morkel 4-69, Imran Tahir 3-108)
West Indies trail by 142 runs