Kagiso Rabada claimed figures of 5-34 to spearhead the Proteas attack as the West Indies were dismissed for 162 to hand South Africa an innings and 63-runs victory in the first Test.
In an extended first session on just day three of the Test, resistance to the Proteas bowlers had been offered by Roston Chase (62), but ultimately there was going to be only one winner after the West Indies had been reduced to 82-4 at stumps on day two, still trailing the Proteas by 143 runs.
Rabada was the standout performer on day three as he claimed a deserved five-for, while ably assisted by Keshav Maharaj (2-23) and Anrich Nortje (3-46).
Having taken just one wicket in the first innings on day one when the home side were routed for 97 after choosing to bat first, Rabada led the way for the Proteas in the West Indies’ second innings.
It was his 10th five-wicket haul in Test cricket. The Caribbean side, trailing on first innings by 225 runs and resuming from an overnight position of 82-4, were dismissed for 162.
Wicketkeeper-batsman Quinton de Kock, with a Test-best unbeaten 141 in South Africa’s only innings, was named man of the match.
Only Roston Chase, with a top score of 62, offered any meaningful resistance to the South African bowlers, the next best effort being 14 from replacement opening batsman Kieran Powell, who came into the match on the first afternoon as a concussion replacement for middle-order batsman Nkrumah Bonner.
Ironically, as well as Rabada bowled with the excellent support of Anrich Nortje, whose figures of 3-46 gave him seven wickets in the match, Chase’s demise was not to any of the fast bowlers but the spin of Keshav Maharaj.
Undone by a faster ball, Chase played on attempting a forcing shot.
It was Maharaj’s second wicket in quick succession after his first ball of the day accounted for Jason Holder, the former captain inexplicably offering no shot to a straight delivery.
Joshua da Silva became the third West Indies batsman bowled offering no shot in the match.
Unsettled Da Silva
Struck painfully on the left elbow when he ducked into a short ball from Rabada, the wicketkeeper-batsman never looked settled thereafter and his off-stump went cartwheeling a few minutes later via an error of judgement.
West Indies were hopeful that the overnight pair of Chase and Jermaine Blackwood would have provided stern resistance but within half an hour they were separated, Blackwood mistiming a drive off Rabada to fall to a catch at mid-off for the seventh time in his Test career.
Wickets fell regularly thereafter and it was left to Nortje to put the seal on a near-perfect Test performance by the South Africans, Wiaan Mulder emphasising the excellent work of the supporting slip cordon with another good catch.
‘This was really important for us after what has happened over the last few months and how we’ve slid down the rankings table,’ said a delighted South African captain Dean Elgar.
‘We certainly won’t get carried away with this performance but it gives us a couple more days for rest and recuperation ahead of the second Test.’
That second and final Test begins on Friday at the same venue and while he would not venture into speculating about changes to his team for that match, West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite remained insistent that his decision to bat first was the correct one.
‘I know the conditions might have been difficult for batting, but I backed us to handle it. Obviously, we have to come back stronger for the second Test,’ said Brathwaite.
‘I have to give credit to our bowlers, especially newcomer Jayden Seales. He is a special talent and I hope he can continue to progress from this experience.’
© Agence France-Presse