ST LUCIA – South Africa made slow, but steady progress on the second morning of the first Test, taking their first innings to 205/5 at lunch on Friday.
Quinton de Kock on 44 and Wiaan Mulder on 21, will resume after the interval with the Proteas seeking to build on their 108-run lead.
While the pitch wasn’t as lively as Thursday, there was still enough assistance for the seam bowlers, with 19 year old Jayden Seales impressing again, and giving Mulder in particular a hard time in the half an hour before the break.
There was one cautionary moment for all the batsmen in the penultimate over before the interval when a delivery from medium pacer Kyle Mayers shot through at ankle height, and Mulder had to show sharp reflexes to get his bat in the way of the ball’s path.
It would have woken up the South Africans to the fact that a substantial first innings lead will be vital because they do not want to be chasing anything close to 200 in the fourth innings.
South Africa resumed on 128/4 under sunny St Lucia skies, with Rassie van der Dussen and De Kock starting brightly, as the West Indies failed to find the right lines in the first half an hour of play. De Kock scored a couple of boundaries against Kemar Roach, while Van der Dussen found a four down to fine leg off Seales.
However the introduction of off-spinner Roston Chase, put the brakes on the scoring. It could be argued that the South Africans were a bit too careful, and they could have done more to rotate the strike with singles. However the West Indies bowling was disciplined, the lines tightened and Holder used his height to extract some extra bounce off a pitch that had eased and with a ball that had softened.
The former West Indies captain made the breakthrough, finding the edge of Van der Dussen’s bat as he pushed tentatively from the crease with the ball flying to Shai Hope, who took a good catch coming foward in the gully. Van der Dussen, scored 46, that came off 148 balls with five fours. His partnership with De Kock was worth 43 runs.
De Kock who’s been out of form of late, showed great care in crafting his innings, recognising the need to build the lead. There were some neat drives down the ground when the West Indies bowlers over pitched, and a few languid flicks through the leg side.
Mulder survived a working over from Seales, who beat the outside edge of his bat three times in one over and in fact found the edge afterwards, with the ball bouncing just short of the slips.
The next intriguing period of the match will come with the second new ball, which will be available for the West Indies eight overs after lunch.