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.

India and New Zealand were frustrated by the English weather as day one of the inaugural World Test Championship final in Southampton was washed out.

Rain on Friday meant the International Cricket Council (ICC) showpiece match could not get under way as planned at the Ageas Bowl, with players seen splashing through puddles on the outfield as they checked out the conditions.

The decision to call off the day's scheduled play came at close to 14:45 local time. Weather forecasts for the area suggest rain could be a factor on several days of the match.

Wednesday has been set aside as a reserve day, to allow the teams to make up any time lost if necessary.

The ICC said on Twitter: "Due to persistent rain, play has been abandoned on day one of the #WTC21 Final in Southampton."

India and New Zealand were frustrated by the English weather as day one of the inaugural World Test Championship final in Southampton was washed out.

Rain on Friday meant the International Cricket Council (ICC) showpiece match could not get under way as planned at the Ageas Bowl, with players seen splashing through puddles on the outfield as they checked out the conditions.

The decision to call off the day's scheduled play came at close to 14:45 local time. Weather forecasts for the area suggest rain could be a factor on several days of the match.

Wednesday has been set aside as a reserve day, to allow the teams to make up any time lost if necessary.

The ICC said on Twitter: "Due to persistent rain, play has been abandoned on day one of the #WTC21 Final in Southampton."

West Indies captain, Kraigg Brathwaite, has insisted returning batsman Shai Hope is in a good frame of mind, despite a disappointing return to the Test area against South Africa.

Hope spent several months out of the team, after being dropped in November of last year, working on technical and mental issues following a poor run of form.

The 27-year-old’s return against South Africa last week, however, was a baptism of fire, so to speak, as he was uprooted for scores of 15 and 12.  Hope, who opened in the first innings and batted third in the second, was, however, far from the only batsman who struggled on the day with the team only managing 97 in the first innings.

Ahead of the start of the second Test, on Friday, however, Brathwaite has given assurances that the batsman is confident and mentally in good shape.

“Just like any batsman, it’s important how they are feeling.  He is feeling good at the top but I back him for whichever position, whether opening or number 5, I know he will do a good job,” Brathwaite told members of the media on Thursday.

“He’s always up for the challenge and he’s up for the challenge for any position, opening is obviously different but he’s ready for any position.  He is in a good space and that’s one of the main things.  Once the batter has that positive mindset and is confident then that’s the way forward.”

Hope will be looking to replicate some of the form from the Windies Best vs Best practice match where he impressed selectors with a century.

 

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.

Spin duo Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja have been named in India's side for the ICC World Test Championship final against New Zealand at the Ageas Bowl.

The Black Caps did not face a frontline spinner in a 1-0 Test series victory over England, but they will have to contend with two in Southampton.

Ashwin and Jadeja were named in a five-match bowling attack along with Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah on the eve of an inaugural final that is due to start on Friday, but poor weather could result in an opening-day washout.

New Zealand captain Kane Williamson and wicketkeeper-batsman BJ Watling are expected to be fit to return after missing the decisive second Test win over England at Edgbaston.

Watling will be playing in the final match of his professional career if he gets the nod to replace Tom Blundell.

Wednesday has been set aside as a reserve day in case a full five days cannot be completed and that may be required with rain and storms forecast.

New Zealand are top of the rankings and come into the game on a high after securing their first Test series win in England since 1999, hammering Joe Root's side by eight wickets early on day four.

They demonstrated their strength in depth by making six changes, with Matt Henry claiming the man of the match award after he was among the players to come into the side.

Skipper Williamson, who has been troubled by an elbow injury, is delighted with the strides his side have made and says there is more to come.

"There's been a lot of growth over a period of time so many challenges along the way every day but the team has bought into it and tried to move past those with a good attitude," the prolific batsman said.

"There is lot of hard work done over a long period of time to find ourselves here in the first final.

"It's exciting but for us it's just focusing on continuing that growth and trying to keep committing to the parts of our game that give us the best chance and that's where I know the guys will be focusing on. We are trying to look at the long game and try and improve all the time."

 

INDIA IN A QUEST FOR EXCELLENCE - KOHLI

Captain Virat Kohli says India will remain in a quest for excellence regardless of the outcome in the final.

He said: "For us as a team we have been on a quest for excellence for a while now. And we are going to continue to be on that path regardless of what happens in this game. We have no doubts whatsoever in our abilities and what we can do as a side.

"As an individual player, look, we won the 2011 World Cup which was a great moment for all of us. But cricket goes on. Just the way life goes on. And you have to treat failure and success the same way, and you have to treat the so-called outstandingly big moments pretty similar to the other moments as well.

"So, yes, it is an occasion that has to be enjoyed from our point of view, but it is not different for us or no more important for us than the first Test match that we played together as a young group of players back in the day when we were trying to come up the ranks. So, yes, the mindset remains the same."
 

BLACK CAPS SPOILT FOR CHOICE

New Zealand's bowlers tore through England in the second innings at Edgbaston, skittling them out for only 122 in another demonstration that the selectors are spoilt for choice.

Henry, Trent Boult, Neil Wagner and India-born spinner Ajaz Patel did the damage as Tim Southee and Kyle Jamieson were among the players given a chance to put their feet up.

Pacemen Southee and Jamieson starred when New Zealand whitewashed India 2-0 last year.

Southee was named man of the match with match figures of 9-110 in the first Test at Basin Reserve and Jamieson picked up the award in the second match, taking 5-45 in the first innings. 

 

KEY OPTA FACTS

- The previous seven Tests matches between the two nations have seen each team pick up three wins (D1).
- India have lost each of their previous two matches at the venue against England, while this will be the Black Caps' first Test at the ground.
- Kohli's side have lost just one of their past seven Tests (W5, D1), the loss coming at home to England in February.
- No spinner has dismissed Williamson more times in Test cricket than Ashwin (five, also Pragyan Ojha). His false shot percentage of 21.9 per cent against Ashwin is his highest against any bowler he has faced a minimum of 150 balls.

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.

 

Several top Australian cricketers including Pat Cummins, Marcus Stoinis and David Warner, have withdrawn from the white-ball tour of the West Indies, Cricket Australia has announced.

In addition, Glenn Maxwell, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, and Daniel Sams have also requested that they not be considered for the tours of the West Indies and Bangladesh for various reasons.

"We are naturally disappointed not to have all players available for the Australian team at this time however the National Selection Panel respects the decisions of those who have opted out of this tour," said head selector Trevor Hohns.

“Steve Smith was unavailable for selection due to an elbow injury and will now be able to use this time to fully recover ahead of the World Cup and home Ashes Series. Steve was disappointed to miss the tour with the decision made on medical grounds. International tours in the time of Covid-19 undoubtedly present many additional challenges for athletes.

"They also present opportunities for others and, in this case, the chance to push for selection in the Australian men’s T20 World Cup squad later this year and beyond. This is a great chance for these players to make a case for the World Cup and all are considered very real prospects of making that tournament by performing well across these tours.”

The 18-man squad comprises Aaron Finch (c) (Victoria), Ashton Agar (Western Australia), Wes Agar (South Australia), Jason Behrendorff (Western Australia), Alex Carey (South Australia), Dan Christian (New South Wales), Josh Hazlewood (New South Wales), Moises Henriques (New South Wales), Mitchell Marsh (Western Australia), Riley Meredith (Tasmania), Ben McDermott (Tasmania), Josh Philippe (Western Australia), Mitchell Starc (New South Wales), Mitchell Swepson (Queensland), Ashton Turner (Western Australia), Andrew Tye (Western Australia), Matthew Wade (Tasmania), and Adam Zampa (New South Wales).

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Kane Williamson and BJ Watling are expected to be fit to play for New Zealand against India in the ICC World Test Championship final at the Ageas Bowl.

Captain Williamson missed the second Test of the series with England due to an elbow issue, while a back injury stopped wicketkeeper Watling from playing in that game at Edgbaston.

However, the duo have both been included in a 15-man squad for the decider with India, which begins on Friday.

There is also a place for Ajaz Patel as the specialist spinner ahead of Mitchell Santner, while Colin de Grandhomme is the all-rounder and Will Young will provide batting cover. Tom Blundell - who took over behind the stumps in Birmingham - will be Watling's understudy.

Along with Santner, Doug Bracewell, Jacob Duffy, Daryl Mitchell and Rachin Ravindra are the other players to miss out on selection.

"There's had to be some tough calls with Mitchell and Daryl victims of the fierce competition we currently have for places in the Test side," said New Zealand coach Gary Stead.

"We’ve gone with Ajaz as our specialist spinner after an impressive outing at Edgbaston and we believe he could be a factor at the Ageas Bowl.

"Colin's been an integral member of our Test set-up for many years and it was great to see him return at Lord’s after a long injury lay-off. He’s a proven performer at the top level and we back him to do a job with the bat or the ball if called upon.

"Kane and BJ have certainly benefitted from their week of rest and rehabilitation and we expect them to be fit and available for the final."

Despite the absences of Williamson and Watling, a much-changed New Zealand side won the second Test against England, in the process securing a 1-0 series victory over their hosts.

The Black Caps are on an eight-match unbeaten run in the format, while India have lost just once in their previous seven Tests. In the past seven meetings between the countries, both have won three apiece to go along with a solitary draw.
 

New Zealand squad for ICC World Test Championship final: 

Kane Williamson (capt), Tom Blundell, Trent Boult, Devon Conway, Colin de Grandhomme, Matt Henry, Kyle Jamieson, Tom Latham, Henry Nicholls, Ajaz Patel, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Neil Wagner, BJ Watling, Will Young

Cricket West Indies (CWI) President, Ricky Skerritt, has paid tribute to Desmond Haynes and the late Sir Learie Constantine, who are to be inducted into the ICC Hall of Fame later this month. The two are among 10 cricketers from across five eras who will be inducted.

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