Port of Spain: Fast bowler Dale Steyn starred again as South Africa secured a 163-run victory over the West Indies in the opening Test.
Steyn collected three wickets for 65 runs from 15.3 overs, as West Indies, chasing 457 for victory, were bowled out for 293, just before the rescheduled close on the fourth day at Queen’s Park Oval.
The South African quick ended the match yesterday with figures of eight for 94 to earn the man-of-the-match award.
Steyn bowled Nelon Pascal off an inside edge for 10, when the West Indies tail-ender tried a flamboyant one-legged pull.
Morne Morkel supported Steyn with two for 49 from 12 overs, while left-arm spinner Paul Harris took two for 91 from 26.3 overs.
The victory gave the Proteas a 1-0 lead in the three-Test series, which continues on Friday in St Kitts.
“Our bowlers were running on fumes there at the end, and it was not made any easier for us with them struggling with the run-ups from one end, and a soft landing,” said South Africa captain Graeme Smith.
“It was another hot day, and we have had to work a little bit harder. The pitch was not conducive to really exciting Test match cricket. It was about a long, hard graft, and we did that well, and we have won in three and a half days, so I am happy.”
The South Africans had declared on 206 for four in their second innings an hour and 20 minutes before lunch, after Smith had fallen for the top score of 90.
The Proteas then sweated through the remainder of the day to condemn West Indies to their third straight defeat at their hands at this ground, despite a top score of 73 from West Indies captain Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo’s enterprising 49, and Sulieman Benn’s entertaining 42.
“It’s stating the obvious that our batting was again the main problem, and getting 102 in the first innings always put us on the back-foot,” said Gayle.
“I thought we started the Test fairly well on the first day, but we allowed things to slip away on the second day, and things gradually got better for South Africa.”
Steyn and Morkel made early inroads into the brittle West Indies batting before lunch, to keep the South Africans in the hunt.
Morkel removed opener Travis Dowlin for one, and Steyn snared Brendan Nash for 13, as West Indies reached 62 for two at the interval.
The Proteas were scenting victory when they removed Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Gayle, West Indies’ two most accomplished batsmen, before tea, after the pair had put on 55 for the third wicket.
As he has done several times in the past, Jacques Kallis provided South Africa with the breakthrough, when he had Chanderpaul caught at second slip for 15 to leave West Indies 94 for three.
Morkel, using his height to gain extra bounce from the uneven pitch, trapped Gayle lbw with the second ball of a new spell.
The West Indies captain, whose 50 came from 62 balls when he whipped Lonwabo Tsotsobe through square leg for four, spent a little over two and a half hours at the crease, faced 106 balls, and struck nine fours and one six.
The South Africans continued to press their advantage before tea, but they lost their right to challenge umpiring decisions.
This followed confirmation from video umpire Simon Taufel that their appeal for the lbw of left-hander Narsingh Deonarine was misplaced, and the Australian umpire sparing Dwayne Bravo from another cheap surrender, with an inconclusive verdict for a bat-pad catch off Harris.
After tea, the Proteas were made to dig deep, when a few partnerships sprung up that almost broke their backs.
The most significant came very late, when the frontline bowlers were probably at their lowest ebb, and Benn added 66 for the eighth wicket with Shane Shillingford.
Smith turned to Alviro Petersen, and he gave South Africa the final push, when he trapped Benn lbw for his maiden Test wicket before Harris and Steyn finished things off.