Fast bowler Kagiso Rabada has led the way as South Africa’s pace attack sped through the West Indies, winning the first Test at the Centurion in three days with an 87-run triumph.
The fiery Rabada went 6-50 on Thursday as South Africa edged out the tourists for 159 after setting a target of 247 for the West Indies to win.
The win came despite lone resistance from Jermaine Blackwood, who scored 79 runs for his team in a one-man effort to give the Windies a chance.
The bowlers had held the upper hand for most of the contest and the wickets were falling freely throughout the day as South Africa, who had a 130-run lead in the first innings, recovered 4-49 in their second innings and just before the Lunch lost six wickets as they were sacked for 116.
Aiden Markram, who scored a century in the first innings on his return to the Test side, hit the top goals again with 47, while Rabada and debutant Gerald Coetzee were the only other home batsmen to be in double figures as they put up 29 for the ninth wicket .
Kemar Roach of the West Indies had the best bowling numbers at 5-47.
After sacking South Africa on the cheap, the visitors were faced with a pre-lunch over in which captain Kraigg Brathwaite bouncy the third ball of the inning ahead of Rabada over the leg side to be caught by wicketkeeper Heinrich Klaasen.
They then collapsed to 5-33 in the second session as Rabada, Coetzee and Marco Jansen broke the top order.
“It wasn’t the best wicket,” Rabada said, “but we made sure to maintain a good intensity and do well.”
Jansen took two wickets on back-to-back balls when he forced a top edge from Tagearine Chanderpaul, then on his next delivery rolled Roston Chase’s first ball, clipping the top of the stump as the batsman offered no shot.
Blackwood led a fightback in a 58-run partnership with Joshua da Silva for the sixth wicket to offer a faint glimmer of a possible pursuit of glory, but with Da Silva departing the outcome seemed inevitable.
West Indies wicketkeeper Da Silva made seven catches in South Africa’s second innings to join Wasim Bari (Pakistan), Bob Taylor (England), Ian Smith (New Zealand) and compatriot Ridley Jacobs for the list of most catches in an innings to lead
Proteas skipper Temba Bavuma received the unwelcome distinction of becoming the fourth player to earn a pair of ducks in his Test captaincy debut during the game to join Mark Taylor (Australia), Rashid Latif (Pakistan) and Habibul Bashar (Bangladesh). .
Bavuma was released as a second ball in the first innings and as a first ball in the second innings, which will fuel debate over his place on the team with a single century in 95 Test innings.
“We didn’t get many partnerships. The wicket didn’t get any easier, there was a variable jump,” said Bavuma.
“But our lead turned out to be very large in the end. The bowlers need to rest, it’s been a great effort from them. The batsmen need to get together and work on our game plan. We have to do better next time.”
The second and final test of the series begins next Wednesday at Wanderers in Johannesburg.
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