West Indies literally lost the match on the fourth day itself, when Marlon Samuels’ impatience got the better of him. He became too wary of being kept quiet for long and Harmer benefitted from his sudden desire to hit a six. After that the slide had come in a rush. Until that point, West Indies had gone along with some intent with Chanderpaul and Samuels looking like true warriors out to create a position for their team. That didn’t happen finally. The victory target was not at all difficult for a side that holds the world’s no.1 position in test matches. South Africa duly completed the task before lunch on the final day, albeit after losing two wickets. The South African innings was highlighted by a fine unbeaten knock of 60 from Dean Elgar and his last day partnership with captain Hashim Amla, who scored the winning runs.
When play began in the morning, South Africa were suddenly faced with an intense pressure from West Indies bowlers, who didn’t want to give away the victory to the hosts on a platter. They needed 115 and it looked easy on paper and it ended in their favor anyway. But Benn came to finish his over from last night and it was a wicket maiden. The next 6 overs were maidens as well with Benn and Taylor keeping Elgar and du Plessis on a tight leash. The usually attacking du Plessis was kept quiet for 27 balls before he could get off the mark on the 28th. Unfortunately, West Indies didn’t have the luxury of a bigger target for their opponents and yet again the futility of Samuels’ rush of blood on the previous day came to mind. South African batsmen began opening up after 17th over and once the runs started flowing, the diminishing target made the bowlers wary. Their only solace was the wicket of du Plessis, who had looked uncomfortable all along. In the 23rd over of the innings, Benn produced an unplayable ball that jumped out from the good length spot and took the shoulder of du Plessis’ bat as he went forward for a defensive stroke. The edge flew over the head of the second slip fielder, who collided with another fielder from backward point but in the end, the catch was taken. Du Plessis played 69 balls for his 14 runs. At this point, Hashim Amla came to join Dean Elgar, who was composed for most part. The target had already come down to 73 runs as Amla and Edgar went along steadily. At 75/2, Amla survived a very confident LBW appeal and as per the review taken, the ball had almost brushed the top of the stumps. At 80/2, Edgar also benefitted, when a possible catch could not be completed by the deep midwicket fielder. In any case, the pressure had already eased on the batsmen, who had begun to laugh, when they chatted in the mid-field. The victory for South Africa finally came in the 38th over that yielded 8 runs, including the winning boundary from Amla.
The presentation show ended with Amla being handed over Sir Vivian Richards Trophy. They really deserved that as West Indies were completely outplayed in the series. The victory also resulted in South Africa being confirmed as the best test-playing nation in the world. The remaining part of the West Indies tour comprises of three T20 games and an ODI series. South Africa will strive to take their test-series triumph to the shorter format. Hopefully, the West Indies will play better from here onwards.
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