West Indies coach Phil Simmons believes it may be too early to assess the full impact of a crushing defeat at the hands of South Africa in the recently concluded Test series.

Things looked to be on the up for the regional squad following solid performances away to Bangladesh and at home to Sri Lanka, which had even led to the team moving up the Test team rankings table.

However, the West Indies could hardly find a foothold in the series against the visiting South Africans.  They failed to reach the 200 runs in any innings of the two Test matches and were bowled out for 97 in the first innings of the Test match.

The coach will be hoping the performance is more of an aberration than an erosion of the progress made in recent months.

“It has been a setback.  You don’t know how big a setback until we do our remedying and come up against Pakistan,” Simmons told members of the media.

“At the same time, we keep making sure that sometimes you have two steps forward and one step back in progress.  So, it is a little setback we will know how big a setback with the Pakistan series.”

The West Indies will play against a visiting Pakistan in a two-Test series in August.

 

 

 

West Indies captain, Kraigg Brathwaite, has insisted the responsibility of leading the team has not had a negative impact on his batting performances in the recently concluded series against South Africa.

Brathwaite, who took over as captain of the team from Jason Holder in February, had his worst performance at the top of the order for some time, albeit against a rampant South Africa.

In two matches, the 28-year-old batsman could only manage a high score of 15 and in total scored 28 runs, which included an early duck in the first innings of the second match.  Prior to heading into the series, Brathwaite had averaged 33.43, including scores of 126 and 85 against Sri Lanka in the previous series.

The batsman has, however, rejected notions of added responsibility for the team impacting his performance at the crease.

“I’m not feeling any pressure.  I enjoy captaining.  I didn’t get any runs as the opening batsman, I just didn’t get any runs full stop,” Brathwaite told members of the media.

The player has targeted looking at a few technical issues and better mental preparation ahead of the next series.

“Opening the batting isn’t easy, but it’s a very crucial job because it basically sets up the game to make it easier for guys that follow and we didn’t do that and it put us on the backfoot for most of the time,” he added.

 

 

 

“We are sorry!”

Those were the words of Captain Kraigg Brathwaite after the West Indies humiliating 158-run defeat to South Africa inside four days at the Darren Sammy Cricket Stadium in St Lucia on Monday.

The West Indies, resuming from their overnight score of 15 without loss in pursuit of 324, were bundled out for 165 thanks mainly to the bowling of left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj, who took 5-36, including a hat-trick that saw the home side slide from 104-3 to 104-6.

Kagiso Rabada was also among the wickets, taking 3-44 as the West Indies batting one man short, fell for 165.

Kieran Powell, who scored 51, Kyle Mayers 34 and Kemar Roach and Jermaine Blackwood, who scored 27 and 25, respectively got into double figures.

Brathwaite, who made scores of 0 and 6, laid the blame squarely at the feet of the batsmen, himself included, for the poor performance of the team who did not score more than 170 runs in any of their four innings. The batting was especially embarrassing coming off much better performances against Bangladesh in Bangladesh and the home series against Sri Lanka earlier this year.

In the first Test, the West Indies had scores of 97 and 162 and followed those weak scores with 149 and 165 in the second Test capitulation. Confronted with that reality in the post-match media conference, the disappointed captain could not hide from the truth.

“As batsmen, we know we went wrong. We didn’t bat well,” said Brathwaite, who revealed that they had planned to bat better and having consistent partnerships during the series against the South African bowling attack but said they have to come back better for the next series.

“We are very sorry. Obviously, the fans look forward to the West Indies doing well and we were disappointing,” he said.

“Sometimes it’s not about winning but you still want to see the fight and we didn’t show the fans that fight. Myself included, we have to come back better and make the fans proud.”

 

 

 

 

 

Keshav Maharaj claimed a sensational hat-trick as South Africa sealed a 2-0 Test series whitewash of West Indies with a 158-run victory on day four.

The Proteas secured their first series victory away from home in the longest format since 2017 on Monday, bowling the Windies out for 165 at the Daren Sammy National Cricket Stadium.

Set 324 to salvage a 1-1 draw, West Indies collapsed on the penultimate day in St. Lucia following a battling half-century from Kieran Powell (51).

Kagiso Rabada took 3-44 and Maharaj (5-36) became only the second South African to take a Test hat-trick in a sensational over just before lunch, with the tourists retaining the Sir Vivian Richards Trophy in the afternoon session.

Rabada reduced the Windies to 26-2 early in the day by removing Kraigg Brathwaite and Shai Hope, but Powell and Kyle Mayers showed defiance.

They put on 64 for the third wicket before Mayers (34) top-edged to Dean Elgar at second slip attempting to hook the rapid Rabada.

Spinner Maharaj then took centre stage, dismissing Powell, Jason Holder and Joshua Da Silva in the penultimate over before lunch to join the Test hat-trick club.

Jermaine Blackwood (25) and Kemar Roach (27) added 40 for the seventh wicket, but Maharaj finished off the Windies with his fifth wicket by getting Jayden Seales caught at deep square leg, with Roston Chase unable to bat due to a quad injury.

 

MAHARAJ MAGIC

Geoff Griffin was the only South African to take a hat-trick for South Africa against England at Lord's in 1960 before Maharaj worked his magic in the penultimate over of the morning session.

He had Powell taken by Anrich Nortje in the deep on the leg side and snared Holder before Da Silva was taken by Wiaan Mulder at leg slip, sparking jubilant scenes.

The left-arm tweaker put the icing on the cake by helping himself to a seventh five-wicket Test haul after lunch.

 

POWELL A PLUS FOR WINDIES

Opener Powell was recalled for this series after being left out in the international wilderness since 2018.

He made only 14 in the second innings of the first Test after being selected as a concussion substitute for Nkrumah Bonner and fell for only five in his first knock in this match.

Powell, 31, showed the sort of defiance West Indies have been lacking in a 116-ball knock, but there was an all-too familiar collapse after he departed.

South Africa tightened their grip on the second Test against West Indies as Rassie van der Dussen and Kagiso Rabada forged an unlikely sturdy batting alliance to get the tourists out of trouble.

At 73-7 in their second innings, South Africa's lead was 222, and there was the prospect of West Indies possibly chasing a target under 250 to win the game and tie the two-match series.

But Van der Dussen and Rabada combined to add 70 for the eighth wicket, with tail-ender Rabada racing to a Test-best 40, including a six off Kemar Roach. South Africa made it to 174 all out, setting a victory target of 324.

Van der Dussen finished unbeaten on 75, while in the course of the innings former West Indies captain Jason Holder became just the 15th man in Test history to reach 50 catches, 1,000 runs and 100 wickets in a career. He joined that club with a spectacular catch at second slip to see off Keshav Maharaj.

West Indies' batting fragility had been exposed by South Africa on Saturday, the second day of the match, when they were bowled out for 149, exactly half of the tourists' first-innings 298 total. It meant the hosts were on the back foot heading into day three, but they had South Africa rattled as the Proteas top order offered desperately little resistance.

The morning session was wiped out due to rain in St Lucia, but when play began at the Daren Sammy National Cricket Stadium, Roach was quick to make an impact, having openers Aiden Markram and Dean Elgar both caught cheaply at second slip by Jason Holder.

Keegan Petersen chopped Kyle Mayers' second ball of the innings into his stumps to fall for 18, and Kyle Verreynne, Quinton de Kock, Wiaan Mulder and Maharaj then contributed an aggregate 12 runs. 

Medium-pacer Mayers drew edges to get rid of Verreynne and Mulder and post figures of 3-19, before Van der Dussen and Rabada set about the rescue act.

They made batting look achievable, if not always easy, with Rabada the aggressor as he cracked five fours before lashing a ball of good length from Roach over long-on for six.

That saw him go past his Test-best of 34 not out, but his innings was soon over, Roach (4-52) taking his revenge as Rabada top-edged to Darren Bravo.

West Indies trundled to 15-0 in their second innings before fading light brought an end to play, still needing 309 more runs for victory.


Rabada revives flagging South Africa

Given West Indies' form with the bat in this short series, it was hard to imagine them successfully chasing anything above 200, but had they skittled their visitors for a double-figure total the energy behind such a performance might have inspired the home batsmen.

Rabada might not have fancied bowling at a team newly imbued with confidence, and he soon set about changing the complexion of the match, slapping away the ball to the boundary with gusto, particularly when he picked the moment to go deep off Roach.


Holder joins starry list

Holder became the latest man to reach the 50 catches, 1,000 runs and 100 wickets club, Cricinfo statistics showed.

The first to that all-round haul was England's Wilfred Rhodes, while the list includes the likes of luminaries Richie Benaud, Garfield Sobers, Ian Botham, Ben Stokes, Shane Warne, Anil Kumble and Jacques Kallis.

South Africa once again capitalised on West Indies' batting frailties to take charge of the second Test after Quinton de Kock fell just short of another century on day two.

De Kock made a classy century in a first Test that the Proteas won by an innings and 63 runs at the Daren Sammy National Cricket Stadium and was dismissed for 96 at the same venue on Saturday.

Kemar Roach took 3-45 and Kyle Mayers claimed 3-28 - his best Test bowling figures - as the tourists were bowled out for 298 on the second day in Gros Islet.

The Windies were bowled out for only 149 in reply, losing their last four wickets for only six runs in the space of three and a half overs.

Kagiso Rabada (2-24), Lungi Ngidi (2-27) and Keshav Maharaj (2-47) took two wickets apiece, while Wiaan Mulder took three wickets for only one run late on another miserable day for West Indies - who trail by 149 runs and are facing a 2-0 series defeat.

Roach had Mulder caught behind in his first over of the day and Maharaj fell in the same fashion to Jason Holder after putting on 36 for the seventh wicket with De Kock.

De Kock fell just shy of a hundred when he attempted to slash Mayers for four, Shai Hope taking a simple catch in the gully after the ball looped up off Joshua Da Silva's glove.

Rabada added an unbeaten 21 and then had Kraigg Brathwaite caught behind off the first ball of the Windies' reply and they were in deep trouble on 54-4 when Maharaj removed Mayers.

Jermaine Blackwood (49) and Hope (43) offered some resistance, but West Indies folded and look to be facing a whitewash on home soil in a series they started by only posting a pitiful 97 and 162 in the opening Test.

De Kock falls just short

Wicketkeeper batsman De Kock was named man of the match in the first Test for his magnificent 141.

The explosive left-hander fell agonisingly short of a second successive hundred on the same ground, but his brilliant innings could be decisive.

De Kock struck eight boundaries in another assured, high quality 162-ball knock, having arrived at the crease on day one with work to do at 124-4.

 

Late Mulder burst sums up Windies' day

The Windies were already on the ropes at 143-6 before Mulder did late damage.

All-rounder Mulder had birthday boy Da Silva caught behind in his first over, then saw the back of Roach and Jayden Seales in the space of three balls.

Blackwood top-edged spinner Maharaj to Dean Elgar, ending a sorry innings that lasted only 54 overs.

South Africa batsman Rassie van der Dussen clean bowled by Kemar Roach after letting a straight one go.

Dean Elgar and Quinton de Kock staged a South Africa fightback on the first day of the second Test as the Proteas attempt to secure a series victory over West Indies.

Having claimed an innings victory in the first Test of the two-match series, South Africa initially paid the price for losing the toss and being put into bat as the Windies made early inroads.

When Rassie van der Dussen (4) was bowled by an inswinger from Kemar Roach, South Africa were in a perilous position on 37-3.

But Elgar (77) staged a partnership of 87 with Kyle Verreynne (27) and then put on put 79 with Quinton de Kock, who finished unbeaten on 59 as South Africa reached stumps on 218-5 in Gros Islet.

Aiden Markram fell for a duck when he ill-advisedly chased a short and wide delivery from Shannon Gabriel in the second over of the day.

Keegan Petersen scored seven before he followed Markram back to the sheds as Jayden Seales tempted him into a drive and drew the edge, and Roach then clattered a delivery into Van der Dussen's off stump.

But, as the wickets tumbled around him, Elgar dug in, his half-century coming off 147 balls, and the arrival of De Kock helped up the run rate.

Elgar and De Kock put on 79 in 169 deliveries, the latter reaching his fifty after just 89 balls with an edge to the boundary at third man.

Yet he did so four deliveries after Kyle Mayers beat Elgar's bat to end the opener's stay, meaning De Kock will likely have to farm the strike on day two as the Windies get into the South Africa tail.

 

De Kock in form

After an unbeaten 141 in the first Test, De Kock now has 200 off just 273 deliveries in the series for a strike rate of 73.26. If South Africa finish the job and claim a 2-0 victory, De Kock will have an excellent case for Player of the Series.

Seales' strong start

Having taken 3-75 on debut in the first Test, 19-year-old Seales continues to impress in the Windies attack. He finished with figures of 1-28 from his 13 overs on day one, four of which were maidens. The right-arm quick has so far made a very promising start to his career.

West Indies fast bowler Kemar Roach has backed the team to recover mentally for the second Test, following a disappointing start to the series against South Africa.

The visiting Proteas handed their hosts a deflating innings and 63 runs defeat in the first Test in St Lucia.  In total, the Windies managed just 259 in both innings after scoring just 97 in the first.  South Africa was tasked with batting once and 322 was comfortable enough to win the game.

The manner of the defeat was perhaps all the more surprising as the team headed into the series on the back of an exceptional away performance against Bangladesh and a solid home showing against Sri Lanka.  Roach has, however, backed the unit to recover its fortitude quickly ahead of the second Test.

“I know the guys had their batting meeting.  I’m sure they spoke about what is required to put on a better showing in the second Test match,” Roach told members of the media.

“The dressing room is good, relaxed.  We have had a good year of Test cricket.  One bad match doesn’t make us a bad team.  It about us remaining positive, trust our process, gain some confidence for the second Test match and take it from there.”

South Africa have the opportunity to seal a first away Test series win for over four years at the expense of wounded West Indies at the Daren Sammy National Cricket Stadium.

The Proteas hammered the Windies by an innings and 63 runs in the first Test since Dean Elgar was appointed as South Africa captain. They only need to avoid defeat at the same venue in the second match, starting on Friday, to wrap up the two-game series.

Not since March 2017 have South Africa secured a series victory on tour in the longest format, that success coming against New Zealand.

Until the opening success over West Indies last week, the South Africans had not won any Test match away from home since beating England in July 2017 at Trent Bridge.

West Indies were embarrassed on the outskirts of Gros Islet, in St Lucia, where they were skittled out for only 97 in the first innings and could only muster 162 second time around.

The pitiful first-innings total was the lowest West Indies have been dismissed for against South Africa, with Lungi Ngidi taking 5-19 and Anrich Nortje 4-35.

Quinton de Kock made a magnificent 141 to pick up the man of the match award before Kagiso Rabada steamed in to claim figures of 5-43 in the second innings, putting the tourists 1-0 up in the battle for the Sir Vivian Richards Trophy.

Kraigg Brathwaite's home side must come out fighting on Friday as they attempt to salvage a 1-1 draw, eager to end a run of nine Tests without a win over South Africa.

Fast bowler Shannon Gabriel and batsman Darren Bravo have been recalled by the Windies, while Nkrumah Bonner is unavailable for selection due to concussion protocol after he was substituted in the opening Test.

 

MARKRAM: MORE TO COME FROM PROTEAS

South Africa could not have wished for a better start to the series, but opening batsman Aiden Markram says the tourists can move to another level.

Markram said: "It will be tough to better that performance. I'm hoping we've got more percentage in terms of being better for the next Test. I'm positive we've got something more in us."

He added: "It doesn't matter the result, if you win or lose the game, because if you're operating at the standard we've set as a team, then more often than not you'll get good results. We're pretty inexperienced, so the only thing we can measure ourselves against is the standards we set for ourselves."

 

FORMER SKIPPER URGES WINDIES CRITICS TO HOLD FIRE

Critics rounded on West Indies following their drubbing in the first Test, but former captain Jason Holder called for patience.

The top-ranked Test all-rounder said: "We have a relatively inexperienced batting line-up. There are guys who are looking to re-engage with Test cricket and others trying to engage in the Test arena.

"All these things add up. We need to be a little bit more patient. We've seen what they can produce, with the performances just in the recent past."

 

KEY OPTA FACTS

- West Indies are winless in their last six Tests on home soil (D2, L4); their last victory in the Caribbean was a 10-wicket triumph over England in February 2019.
- South Africa have a catch success rate of 81.7 per cent since the beginning of 2017 in Tests, the highest of any team. They have held on to 451 of their 552 opportunities.
- Since his debut in February 2014, no wicketkeeper has registered more dismissals in men's Tests than De Kock (221 – 210 catches and 11 stumpings).
- The Proteas' win in the first Test was their first at the Daren Sammy National Cricket Stadium – having lost an ODI and two Twenty20 Internationals at the venue.

Fast bowler Shannon Gabriel and middle-order batsman Darren Bravo have been recalled to the West Indies squad ahead of the second Betway Test match at the Darren Sammy Cricket Stadium in St Lucia starting on Friday, June 18.

Former West Indies captain Jason Holder has backed an ‘inexperienced’ batting line-up to eventually find its feet against better bowling attacks, on the back of a disappointing showing against South Africa in the opening Test match.

The start of the series against the visiting Proteas was no contest, with the regional team losing by an innings and 62 runs inside three days.  In a dreadful showing at the crease, the West Indies put up 259 in two innings and scored just 97 in the first innings.

After a string of positive performances against Bangladesh and then Sri Lanka, the outings at the crease against South Africa were more reminiscent of games last year, in New Zealand, where the Windies struggled to 385 in two innings against a fierce bowling attack and against England earlier in the year.

Holder believes the issue has to do with the team’s inexperience and the lack of cohesiveness it causes at the crease.

“It’s not every day that everyone will go out there and perform but what you would like is to have a bit more consistency and not have these massive imbalances when you get performances such as the one we had with our bat,” Holder told members of the media.

“You must also understand that we have a relatively inexperienced batting line-up.  Bonner is in about his fourth Test match, the same thing with Mayers, Joshua Da Silva, the majority of the top order is relatively inexperienced.  You only have Kraigg who has been around for a while, Powell coming back into the side…Roston coming back into the team after a little while as well,” he added.

“Guys are looking to re-engage themselves in the Test arena, some are looking to engage themselves for the very first time.  All these things add up in the grand scheme of things and we have to be a little more patient with this line-up.”

 

 

Despite being shot out twice for less than 300 runs at the Darren Sammy Cricket Stadium in the first Test against South Africa last week, West Indies fast bowler Kemar Roach says pitches like the one they played on will help West Indies cricket in the long run.

On a grassy surface that offered bounce and pace to fast bowlers, South Africa bowled the West Indies out for scores of 97 and 162 while securing victory by an innings and 63 runs inside three days. South Africa made 322 in their only turn at-bat.

However, according to Roach, who took 2-64 from the 20 overs he bowled, said pitches like the one they played on will ultimately benefit the players in the region.

“I think the pitches benefit us in the long run, especially when we go on tours to South Africa and Australia where the bounce is a lot more,” Roach said.

“We wouldn’t be unfamiliar when we go to these countries. I think it’s good to have a pitch like this in the Caribbean we can prepare ourselves for these overseas tours.”

The bowler, who is a few days shy of his 33rd birthday, had a successful stint in May with Surrey in the English County Championship where he took 22 wickets at an average of 20.54. Among the 22 wickets were nine that he took in his final match against Middlesex.

He said the pitches he played on were different in nature to the one in St Lucia.

“Pitches don’t bounce much in England. There is a lot of movement because of the atmosphere and the amount of grass they put on the pitch,” he said, adding that he believes he and his teammates will need to adjust their game to suit the surface.

“The pitch in St Lucia bounced a lot more than I have seen in a while. It reminds me of a wicket in Australia or probably South Africa, so it’s about us adapting. It’s about taking on the challenge and trying to be as positive as we can.”

The West Indies will see how much they have adjusted to the St Lucia pitch when the second Betway Test begins on Friday.

 

Former West Indies captain and top all-rounder Jason Holder has urged caution in the development of young fast bowler Jayden Seales.

Despite some amount of debate surrounding the selection of the inexperienced player, the performance of the 19-year-old Seales was one of the few bright sparks in a wretched series for the regional team.

The teenager, who came into the line-up with the absence of Shannon Gabriel due to injury, claimed figures of 3 for 34 and overall figures of 3 for 75.  He did not get the chance at a second innings as South Africa only needed to bat once.  Prior to his debut, Seales had only played one First-Class match. 

While admitted to being delighted by the young bowler’s potential, Holder recommends caution as a necessity in ensuring he lives up to his full potential.

“I’m very excited for Jayden.  It was special to see not just the way he bowled but also the way the team rallied around him,” Holder told members of the media on Tuesday.

“I was actually commenting on his first Test wicket and everyone was saying they really enjoyed how he got around it.  I honestly felt like I was taking my first wicket when Jayden got his wicket,” he added.

“The most impressive thing for me about Jayden's debut is the sustenance of his consistency.  He was there, thereabouts nagging.  He asked tons of questions at multiple stages of the game, which is impressive for a 19-year-old.”

The sky’s the limit for him if he can just stay fit.  I just hope that we manage him well.  When I say manage him well, we still have to understand that for Jayden that’s his second first-class game, first Test match.  The body will take a little bit of time to adjust to the workload and we have to be careful not to bowl him to the ground.  I think sometimes we get excited by a young prospect like Jayden and throw him into all formats.  I would like to see a gradual build-up with him.”

West Indies coach Phil Simmons has insisted the team’s lack of productive opening partnerships continues to be a major concern.

While poor all-around batting display was the order of the day in a lopsided loss against South Africa in the first Test, the West Indies, as has become customary, had another slow start at the top of the innings.

The opening pair of captain Kraigg Brathwaite and recently recalled Shai Hope only managed to put 30 on the board in the first innings, with Brathwaite then partnering with another recalled batsman, Kieran Powell, to combine for 21 in the second innings.

Prior to this series, however, Brathwaite and opening partner John Campbell has had an average stuck at around the 22 mark for the last several series played.  Campbell has been ruled out of the current series with an injury.

On the back of the lopsided defeat to South Africa, Simmons insists it is an area the team is desperate to fix.

“It’s one of the things we have been desperately trying to work on because if you look back, a lot of times when we win Test matches against top teams, we have good opening stands,” Simmons recently told members of the media.

“It’s disappointing because when you look at the last 7 Test 100s scored by an opener, I think they were all scored by Kraigg.  So, it’s disappointing for us and we are trying to work very hard on that,” he added.

 

 

 

 

 

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