JOHANNESBURG – Keshav Maharaj took just the second hat-trick by a South African in a Test match to leave the West Indies’ second innings in ruins at lunch on the fourth day of the second Test in St. Lucia on Monday.
Maharaj, picked up the three wickets of Kieran Powell, Jason Holder and Joshua da Silva five minutes before the interval, as the West Indies, who’d been in control for most of the session, collapsed from 90/2, 30 minutes before lunch, to 109/6 at the break.
Maharaj, follows Geoff Griffin into the history books as the only South Africans to take a hat-trick in a Test match. Griffin’s was memorable for more than just the three wickets he took against England at Lord’s in 1960, because he was also called for ‘chucking’ in the same game.
HAT-TRICK Keshav Maharaj! 💥
He's only the second South African in history to take three in three in Test cricket.
— Cricket on BT Sport (@btsportcricket) June 21, 2021
The only danger for Maharaj on Monday, was getting injured by one of Kagiso Rabada or Lungi Ngidi, who tackled him to the ground at the fall of Da Silva’s wicket.
The first of Maharaj’s victims was Kieran Powell who had shared a third wicket partnership of 64 with Kyle Mayers, which was putting the West Indies in a position where belief would have been growing in their dressing room that they could chase down the 324 needed for victory.
Mayers gave his wicket away pulling at Rabada, with the top edge flying above the slips. Dean Elgar had to run back from first slip and perfectly judged a steepling catch.
Then Powell, having just registered 50, decided to take on Maharaj, 10 minutes before lunch, slog sweeping him, but picking out Anrich Nortje, the only boundary fielder South Africa had posted on the leg-side.
Shell shocked by the quick dismissals of two established batsmen, worse was to follow for the hosts. Jason Holder, pushed forward at his first delivery, got an inside edge onto his pads that flew quickly toward short leg where Keegan Petersen showed excellent reflexes to claim the catch.
🔴 KESHAV HAS DONE IT
Wiaan Mulder takes a brilliant catch at leg slip to ensure Keshav Maharaj gets his hat-trick!
🌴 @windiescricket 107/6 after 36.5 overs
— Cricket South Africa (@OfficialCSA) June 21, 2021
Elgar understandably surrounded the new batsman Da Silva, who flicked at a ball down legside, with Wiaan Mulder, pulling off one of the catches of the year at leg-slip, going down to his right and hanging on to the ball one-handed.
“We’ve got to get through the new ball,” their coach Phil Simmons said before the start of play. “Then we need two big partnerships and that will get us to that 300 mark.”
He and his team had reason to be optimistic, despite the highest fourth innings score at the Daren Sammy Cricket Ground, being 251, which West Indies scored in a losing cause against England two years. The West Indies have got recent history to fall back on when chasing big totals in the fourth innings.
☝️ Kieran Powell
☝️ Jason Holder
☝️ Joshua Da Silva
A Test hat-trick for Keshav Maharaj! South Africa have reduced West Indies to 109/6 at lunch on day four.
— ICC (@ICC) June 21, 2021
In February, they successfully chased 395 runs to win in Bangladesh and four years ago, they scored 322 to beat England at Headingley. Six players involved in those two Test wins are playing in St. Lucia.
But all that hope fell away thanks to Powell and Mayers’ sloppiness, Maharaj’s skill and the brilliant catching by the South Africans.