South Africa dismantled a sorry West Indies for 97 on day one of the first Test in St Lucia, before debutant Jayden Seales impressed in a late charge from the hosts.

Lungi Ngidi took his second Test five-wicket haul and Anrich Nortje got rid of four batsmen as the tourists' rampant pace attack left the Windies reeling on Thursday.

It brought up what was just West Indies' second sub-100 total in a Test since 2004.

However, it was not all doom and gloom for West Indies, as teenager Seales took 3-34 to restrict South Africa to 128-4 at stumps.

Sharp bowling from Kagiso Rabada had West Indies on the back foot early, setting the stage for Nortje (4-35) to clatter Shai Hope's off stump.

Nkrumah Bonner received a nasty blow to the helmet from the next delivery and though he was given the go-ahead to continue batting, making 10 runs, that contribution marked the end of his match. Bonner was replaced in the field by substitute Kieran Powell, who will stay involved for the remainder of the Test.

Windies captain Kraigg Braithwate was also bowled by Nortje as South Africa clicked through the gears, and ultimately it was his predecessor as skipper, Jason Holder, who finished as the highest-scorer with a measly 20.

Holder's was the last wicket to fall and was Ngidi's fifth of the innings, the paceman having gone for just 19 runs.

Down but not out, the Windies struck early in South Africa's reply – Dean Elgar going for a duck just five deliveries into his first innings as full-time Test captain.

Keegan Petersen (19) followed in the 10th over, Seales claiming the first wicket of his Test career when the South African debutant edged through to Holder.

But Aiden Markram was on hand to steady the ship, taking South Africa to within a few overs of stumps before succumbing to Seales on 60.

Seales, 19, had his third wicket of a brilliant spell before play was up, Kyle Verreynne slashing at a shorter delivery, with Joshua Da Silva's impressive catch at least giving South Africa some overnight food for thought.

NGIDI AND NORTJE PICK UP THE SLACK

For too long, South Africa have been heavily reliant on Rabada to lead their attack, but his fellow fast bowlers were on hand to deliver this time around.

Ngidi's post-lunch spell was blistering, with Nortje having done the legwork in the morning session. It marked some step up from the last time Ngidi played a Test, when he took 2-74 against Pakistan in April.

SUPER SEALES SHINES

Perhaps the Windies figured they had little to lose, given their dismal first innings, but Seales offered a glimmer of hope.

He bowled with variety and plenty of pace. If the Windies are to get anything from this match, they may need a debut five-for from the teenager, and for it to come quickly on day two.

Jason Holder admitted it has been difficult to adapt to a new role in the West Indies Test side, after the captaincy was handed to Kraigg Brathwaite.

Holder opted not to tour Bangladesh in January due to the coronavirus pandemic, with Brathwaite filling in as captain.

Brathwaite subsequently retained the leadership role for the home series against Sri Lanka in March, and the batsman will again be captain for South Africa's tour of the Caribbean.

It was a decision that came as a surprise to Holder – who had been captain since 2015 – though the 29-year-old is now hoping he can use the opportunity to focus more on his own game.

"It was kind of a shock. Yeah, still lost for words in regards to that, but I am not dwelling on it. I don't think it's something I should dwell on, to be fair," Holder told ESPNcricinfo ahead of the first Test of the two-match series, which starts on Thursday.

"Yeah, it's been difficult. I probably may not show it, but it has been difficult.

"For the last five-six years, I've been captaining West Indies, whether that be Test-match cricket or one-day cricket. So now being relieved of both captaincies, it has been a strange transition for me personally."

Holder had some fine individual moments during his captaincy, though in total only managed 11 Test wins, compared to 21 defeats.

"I am just trying to find ways to move on and transition back to just being a regular player. For me now, it's about showing a bit more of my character, and being a lot more… I would say outspoken. I am relatively outspoken, but just expressing myself a little bit more and having fun," he added.

"I feel as though I have been really, really committed to West Indies cricket – I am still committed to West Indies cricket, but more or less for me now it's just about having fun and enjoying however many days I have playing international cricket.

"There is a lot less pressure, a lot less responsibility. It's just about me now personally… I'm 100 per cent a team man. So I'll play my part to help the team and if there are other players who are seeking out advice or guidance, no doubt I'll be here to give them that."

The Proteas, meanwhile, are set to hand a debut to Keegan Petersen, who has drawn the praises of new Test captain Dean Elgar.

"I've been nervous for a while now," said Petersen, who is likely to replace the retired Faf du Plessis.

"It gives me goosebumps thinking about it. I know I will have big boots to fill. Anyone would be nervous. This is what we dream of as kids and eventually when the dream becomes a reality, it gives your system a bit of a shock."

BLACKWOOD CLOSING IN ON MILESTONE

Jermaine Blackwood could well be crucial if the Windies are to pull off a series victory this month, though they do face a South Africa team who have lost their last nine Tests as tourists.

He needs just 55 runs to bring up 2,000 in total in Test cricket, having averaged 37 from his 67 innings so far. Blackwood and the likes of Shai Hope and Kieran Powell – who have earned recalls – will need to be wary, however, with South Africa's bowling strike rate of 52.2 in Tests since 2018 ranking them behind only India (47.8).

Teenager bowler Jayden Seales, meanwhile, will be looking to make an impact on his debut.

TIME FOR RABADA TO CLICK BACK INTO GEAR

Only one pace bowler has taken more wickets than South Africa's Kagiso Rabada (202) in men's Tests since his debut in November 2015 (Stuart Broad – 203).

Rabada averages 23.4 and has a strike rate of 41.7 across 82 innings, but as of late the burden of carrying South Africa's attack appeared to have dragged him down prior to an 18-month COVID-19 enforced lay off for the team.

While questions remain over the rest of South Africa's pace attack, the tourists need Rabada to step up and deliver at his best. A five-for would be a good start – he has not taken one since March 2018 against Australia.

KEY OPTA FACTS

- This will be the first time West Indies play South Africa in a men's Test since January 2015 – the Windies are winless in their last eight Tests against the Proteas (D2 L6).
- South Africa have won all their eight men’s Test series against the West Indies so far, four of which were won away in the Caribbean.
- West Indies have a win and two losses at the Daren Sammy Cricket Stadium in men's Tests, the remaining four matches they have played at this venue ended in a draw.
- Quinton de Kock has dropped nine catches since 2019 in Test cricket; the only wicketkeeper to drop more catches during this period is India's Rishabh Pant (12).
- West Indies are unbeaten in their last four Tests (W2 D2); however, they lost their four such matches prior to this run.

Recalled West Indies batsman, Shai Hope, has targeted making a solid start on his return to Test cricket ahead of the team’s series against South Africa, which bowls off on Thursday.

The 27-year-old batsman last played for the red ball team in July of last year, after being dropped for a poor run of form in Test cricket ahead of the New Zealand series, in November of last year.

After taking the time off to focus on a few technical inconsistencies and fine-tuning his mental approach, Hope was selected as part of a final 13-man squad for the upcoming Test series earlier this week.

 The batsman impressed selectors with his performance in the West Indies Best vs Best practice match, where he scored 79 in the first innings and 104 in the second.  In addition to that, he also made 68 in a practice match against Sri Lanka earlier this year.  The player is hoping that kind of form translates if he takes the pitch for the upcoming series.

“I want to be clearer in my thought processes and obviously, achieve overall success.  I’m trying to turn over a new leaf and start a fresh book, so hopefully, I can hit the ground running if I get a chance to go out there,” Hope told members of the media.

“Cricket covers different aspects, both technical and mental.  So, I have been working on different things.  The main thing is just to get success out there and I believe in finding a way.  I just need to find a way to score runs for the team.”

 

West Indies opening batsman, Kieran Powell, admits he is looking forward to an opportunity to cement his position in the squad having recently earned a long-awaited recall.

Earlier this week, the 31-year-old left-hander was named among the final 13-man Test squad that will compete against South Africa.  His selection marked a two-and-a-half-year absence from the team, despite some believing the player to be among the region’s top talents.

 Powell, who last represented the West Indies in 2018, during the team’s series against Bangladesh, was in contention for selection to the team last year but failed a fitness test in May.

With several first-string players opting out of the Bangladesh tour earlier this year, he was certainly favourite to claim a spot in the squad but was declared to not have met the fitness standard required by the Cricket West Indies (CWI) selection panel.  Both the player and the Nevis Cricket Association (NCA) rejected the claims and insisted the batsman had in fact met the required fitness standard.  Having been given another chance to shine, Power is, however, eager to claim the opportunity.

“I’ve been out of the team for two and half years now and I’ve counted each month I was not on it,” Powell told members of the media.

“So, it’s obviously a great feeling to be back, but being back is just the start.  Obviously, now when I get my opportunity I have to go out and perform and cement my spot,” he added.

 

CWI chairman of selectors, Roger Harper, has defended the selection of young fast bowler Jayden Seales, despite the player’s lack of experience at the regional level.

With strike bowler Shannon Gabriel out of the upcoming series against South Africa, due to injury, the 19-year-old Seales made it into the final 13-man squad on the back of an impressive performance in the recent West Indies Best vs Best practice match.

The young fast bowler took five wickets overall, including a three-wicket burst that saw him remove the top order of West Indies Best B in the second innings. 

With only one first class match under his belt, however, some have objected to the young bowler being picked ahead of those with a lot more experience.  Harper has insisted, however, that the player’s performance in the practice match was enough to show the selectors plenty of what they were looking for.

“I saw a young bowler play in games where Test players and the best of our regional first class players were playing and he performed exceedingly well, better than a number of players that have been playing first class cricket over a number of years,” Harper told members of the media.

“The match was not classified as a first class match but those matches were played by the best of our regional first class players and he did exceedingly well.  So, I like to think that if he can perform well in those games against those players, he had the potential to transfer that to Test games,” he added.

The series against South Africa will get underway at the Daren Sammy Cricket Ground in St Lucia, on Thursday.

 

Dan Christian has been added to Australia's preliminary squad for the white-ball tours of West Indies and Bangladesh along with uncapped pacemen Wes Agar and Nathan Ellis.

The selectors announced an initial party of 23 to face the Windies and the Tigers, featuring a number of players who played in an Indian Premier League that was cut short due to the coronavirus pandemic.

They have now added Christian, Agar, Ellis, Ben McDermott, Cameron Green and Ashton Turner.

All-rounder Christian, 38, and wicketkeeper-batsman McDermott will end spells in England with Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire respectively to fly home and complete the mandatory two-week quarantine period before the final squad's scheduled departure for the Caribbean late in June.

Christian has not played for his country since October 2017, while Agar and Ellis will be hoping to make their international debuts.

Promising all-rounder Green made his ODI bow against India last December, while Turner has featured in the 50-over format six times and played 11 Twenty20 Internationals.

Confirmation of the tours are subject to agreement on bio-security arrangements and relevant government approvals.

Former West Indies wicketkeeper, Jackie Hendricks, believes Cricket West Indies (CWI) selectors should consider looking at hard-hitting left hander Evin Lewis as a Test team opener.

The 29-year-old Trinidadian-born batsman, who idolizes another big hitting left hander, Chris Gayle, has had some success in the shorter formats of the game, but, unlike Gayle, is yet to play a Test match for the West Indies.

Lewis has scored 1791 runs in 54 One Day International (ODI) matches, at an average of 37.31, with a high score of 176.  In 35 T20 Internationals, the batsman has managed 989 runs with a strike rate of 155.74 and an impressive high score of 125.

The batsman, who also has 1229 runs in 22 First Class cricket matches, and a century scored while representing the Trinidad and Tobago Red Force in the regional four-day competition, has not played the format since 2017.

“I’ve always thought the selectors were a little short-sighted for not given him a go in the Test matches,” Hendricks told the Mason and Guest Radio program.

“I’ve been impressed with how he plays in the 50 overs.  He is not a real hitter, he plays his shots very well, he always gets into position and so on.  So, I’m disappointed that he is not thought about for the team,” he added.

Recently, there have been calls for the selectors to consider widening the pool of available Test players but considering some of the players that do very well in the shorter formats.

Legendary West Indies fast bowler, Andy Roberts, is hopeful developing young pacer Alzarri Joseph has learned a thing or two from his recent stint in English County Cricket.

The 24-year-old Joseph has spent a little over a month representing Worcestershire, where he made his debut following the West Indies home series against Sri Lanka.  As per the arrangement, the player is now back in the Caribbean for the team’s upcoming series against South Africa.

In his six matches there, Joseph did make some impression, claiming 15 wickets, the second most in the team and adding 148 runs, with a high score of 61.  In addition, he claimed an innings best of 2 for 22 and match best of 4 for 106.   

The English championships is typically lauded as a good place for young cricketers to develop, not only due to the difficult and different conditions, but also the volume of cricket played in a short period of time.  During the West Indies spell as the top cricketing nation, several of the players took part in the competition.

“He spent some time in England which everyone feels like that is the bedrock for development because of the amount of cricket that you play, but gone are the days when you use to play seven days or sometimes, 12 to 14 days in a row, and if you can’t develop from that system then you can’t develop,” Roberts, who represented Hampshire and Leicestershire, told the Antigua Observer.

“I am just hoping that he spent most of his time in the nets learning to hone his craft because there is no point to playing County cricket and you don’t learn nothing from playing County cricket. For years I’ve been saying the same thing over and over like the record is stuck; personal development is the key to success.”

 

Pace bowler Marquino Mindley has been released from quarantine, after testing positive for the coronavirus two weeks ago.

The 26-year-old was called to the West Indies red-ball camp a few weeks ago, as part of the team’s preparations to face South Africa in two weeks time.

The player was, however, forced to isolate, as part of strict COVID-19 protocols, after returning a positive PCR test.  The player was put into isolation at the team hotel away from the other players and the coaching staff.

He was cleared to resume training with the rest of the camp on Thursday, after returning a second negative RT-PCR test result.

Mindley even managed a short spell on the final day the intra-squad four-day match, which concluded on Thursday.  The bowler, however, missed the majority of the Best vs Best four-day match, which was used to select the squad for the two-match Test series against South Africa beginning June 10. Both Tests will be played at the Daren Sammy Cricket Ground.

Shai Hope, Kieran Powell, and Jayden Seales have been included in a provisional 17-man squad for the upcoming Betway Test Series against South Africa set to begin on June 10. Opening batsman, John Campbell, however, has not made the cut.

Mohammad Abbas and Naseem Shah have been recalled to the Pakistan Test squad for their series against West Indies.

Pakistan will play two Test matches in the Caribbean in August.

Seamer Abbas - who has 84 Test wickets at an impressive average of 22.80 - had been dropped for the series' against South Africa and Zimbabwe.

But the 31-year-old has been rewarded for his productive spell with Hampshire in the County Championship.

Eighteen-year-old paceman Naseem is also recalled after struggling with a back injury for much of 2020.

Tabish Khan and Salman Ali Agha are not included in the 21-man squad which is led by captain Babar Azam, with the involvement of Yasir Shah subject to his fitness.

Pakistan will also play five T20I matches against West Indies, with that tour preceded by three ODIs and as many T20Is against England.

Wicketkeeper Azam Khan has made the T20I squad for the first time, while Imad Wasim is also included.

Haris Sohail and Saud Shakeel are back in the 50-over group after regaining their fitness.

"We have remained consistent in our selection and kept the same core of cricketers who have been in the set-up for a while," chief selector Mohammad Wasim said. 

"This is an extremely important and critical tour for Pakistan as we will be playing the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup Super League ODIs against England as well as the T20Is against England and the West Indies as part of our preparations for the ICC Men's T20 World Cup. 

"The Jamaica Test will count towards the ICC World Test Championship. As such, keeping in view the above and in consultation with captain Babar Azam and head coach Misbah-ul-Haq, we have tried our best to maintain the winning combinations but at the same time recalled four experienced players and rewarded uncapped Azam Khan for his domestic performance, while also giving him the required confidence for the future challenges.

"Mohammad Abbas has regained his form, Naseem Shah and Haris Sohail have reclaimed the required fitness standards, while Imad Wasim has been recalled considering the T20 World Cup is likely to be held in the UAE and he enjoys an excellent record there." 
 

Test squad: Babar Azam (captain), Mohammad Rizwan, Abdullah Shafique, Abid Ali, Azhar Ali, Faheem Ashraf , Fawad Alam, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Imran Butt, Mohammad Abbas, Mohammad Nawaz, Naseem Shah, Nauman Ali, Sajid Khan, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Saud Shakeel, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shahnawaz Dahani, Yasir Shah (subject to fitness), Zahid Mahmood.

ODI squad: Babar Azam (captain), Shadab Khan, Abdullah Shafique, Faheem Ashraf, Fakhar Zaman, Haider Ali, Haris Rauf, Haris Sohail, Hasan Ali, Imam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Salman Ali Agha, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Saud Shakeel, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Usman Qadir.

T20I squad: Babar Azam (captain), Shadab Khan, Arshad Iqbal, Faheem Ashraf, Fakhar Zaman, Haider Ali, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Imad Wasim, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Sharjeel Khan, Usman Qadir.

Noted cricket commentator and pundit, Joseph ‘Reds’ Perreira, believes batsman Shai Hope should be a definite selection for the 13-man West Indies squad, which will face South Africa in a few days time.

The 27-year-old batsman, who was dropped from the team after a poor run of form last November, has looked sharp since returning to the fold.  Against Sri Lanka, in March, Hope slammed 258 runs in the three-match series, including a shot-filled 110.

He certainly looks to have taken that type of form into red-ball cricket with the West Indies Best vs Best four-day practice match this week.  Hope made 79 in the first innings and got another century, 104, in the second.

Interestingly, however, because of a lack of quality options in the position, Perreira believes Hope can be used as an opener alongside West Indies Test captain Kraigg Brathwaite for the upcoming series.

“It’s been a little mystery why they didn’t want to use him as an opener.  If you have stacks of openers then you probably don’t want to sacrifice a middle-order batsman,” Perreira told the Mason and Guest radio program.

“However, when the cupboard is very bare, it’s not reinventing the wheel, it’s not magical thinking, Hope has definitely got to play…I certainly would be opening with Brathwaite and Hope.”

Hope opened at the top of the innings for the four-day practice match.

International players who miss the resumption of the India Premier League (IPL) could face salary reductions and pro-rata payments from their various franchises.

The IPL was suspended in early May after four players in the biosecure bubble tested positive for Covid-19.  The competition is now expected to take place in the September-October window later this year in the UAE.

With a packed international schedule, however, that decision has not found favour with some countries that have players taking part in the competition.  England and Bangladesh players have been prohibited from taking part in the rescheduled IPL 2021. 

With the ICC T20 World Cup scheduled for October, the timing of the IPL could interfere with the teams' preparation for the World Cup.  This season, nine West Indian players were taking part in the competition before it was postponed.

Chris Gayle and Nicholas Pooran (Punjab Kings) Andre Russell (Kolkata Knight Riders) Dwayne Bravo (Chennai Super Kings) Sunil Narine (Kolkata Knight Riders), Shimron Hetmyer - Delhi Capitals, and Fabian Allen - Punjab Kings.  There is no indication as of yet, whether IPL resumption will clash with plans of Cricket West Indies (CWI). The West Indies are expected to tackle Pakistan in August. 

“In case they (foreign players) can’t make it to UAE for IPL, franchises will be within their right to cut their salaries and pay them only on a pro-rata basis,” a Board of Cricket Control India (BCCI) member told Inside Sports.

 

West Indies opening batsman, Kieran Powell, is hopeful that a polished half-century, crafted in the ongoing West Indies Best vs Best practice match, will be enough to get the attention of the selectors ahead of the upcoming series against South Africa.

On Wednesday, Powell anchored the WI Best B innings with a responsible 95 from 175 balls, which was earned in 227 minutes.  The batsman, who has not represented the West Indies since 2018, during the team’s series against Bangladesh, has had a difficult relationship with the selection panel as of late.

With several first-string players opting out of the Bangladesh tour earlier this year, Powell was favourite for a return to the squad but was declared to not have met the fitness standard required by the West Indies.  Both the player and the Nevis Cricket Association (NCA) rejected the claims and insisted the batsman had in fact met the required fitness standard.  Powell had earlier failed a test in May of 2020.

Now back in contention, the player will be hoping to put such episodes behind him.

“I would hope it (the score) leaves me in a position of strength.  I think there has been just one century, so this is the second-highest score if I’m not mistaken,” Powell said, following the day's play.

“Hopefully, I can get into the squad, and we will take it from there.  I’ve wanted to get back into the team for some time now.  So, obviously spending time and showing application, I am hoping there is hopefully a reward for that.”

 

 

 

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.