PRETORIA,(Reuters) – Dale Steyn ripped through the West Indies top order to claim his 25th five-wicket haul in test cricket and give South Africa an innings and 220-run victory on the fourth morning of the first test today.
The West Indies’ frailties with the bat were cruelly exposed by the top-ranked South Africans, with Steyn leading the charge as he finished with six for 34 having gone wicketless in the first innings.
The visitors resumed in the morning session on 76 for two in their second innings, still trailing by 275 runs, with hopes of batting deep into the day to save the test.
But a fired-up Steyn sparked a procession of wickets as the West Indies were bowled out for 131, unable to cope with the hostility of the home quicks.
“We didn’t expect it to finish so early, but Dale bowled exceptionally well to get us started and the wicket got difficult to bat on,” Proteas captain Hashim Amla, who was adjudged Man of the Match for his 208, said at the post-match presentation.
He also gave credit to AB de Villiers, his partner in a South African record fourth-wicket partnership of 308 and the player who also donned the gloves with regular wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock injured on day three.
“Having AB in the team is a great blessing, he is a wonderful fielder, a great batsman and he even bowls a bit these days. He is also our spare keeper and he showed his class with the gloves on,” Amla said.
Steyn had limped off on the third afternoon with a groin problem but showed no signs of discomfort as he steamed in to skittle the West Indies top order in a spell that lasted 90 minutes.
The loss of Leon Johnson (39) and Shivnarine Chanderpaul (four) early left the West Indies in trouble, but their situation became a hopeless one when Marlon Samuels looped up a catch for Dean Elgar off a rampant Steyn with his score on 17.
Captain Denesh Ramdin (four), who had called for greater grit and application from the batsmen in the lead-up to the test, lasted just two balls as Steyn claimed his fourth by inducing an edge off the shoulder of the bat to a leaping De Villiers.
The game was up for the tourists and Steyn picked up the final two wickets, with Kyle Abbott taking an easy catch off Sheldon Cottrell at mid-wicket to end the match with bowler Kemar Roach not batting in the innings as he rests his injured ankle.
“In the first innings when we batted we showed some signs of partnerships with our guys getting starts but we couldn’t carry them on,” Ramdin said.
“We need to show a lot of character to give them a fight and hopefully we can take some positives out of this match and do something special in the other games.”
The West Indies were bowled out twice in the test in just under 103 overs, leaving them with much to contemplate ahead of the second test in Port Elizabeth that starts on Boxing day.