How the Proteas series will be won and lost: Four key battles
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JOHANNESBURG - The two-match Test series between South Africa and the West Indies will start this afternoon at the Daren Sammy Cricket Ground near Gros Islet, Saint Lucia, and analysts and fans alike will be observing some interesting duels between key players from both teams.
Here are some key battles to look forward to:
KEMAR ROACH V DEAN ELGAR
Roach is a much-improved bowler to left-handers with 23 of his last 48 wickets being left-handed batsmen. He is settled in now as the leader of the Windies’ attack, a role he relishes.
Elgar, as the opposition captain, will be very much in his sights.
The Proteas captain hasn’t been as consistent as he’d like recently, and in a flimsy batting line-up his contribution is crucial.
JASON HOLDER V WIAAN MULDER
The world’s top ranked Test allrounder against a player still making his way in the international game.
Mulder had a lot of hype around him as a schoolboy, and struggled with that attention and on the field with his fitness. He has improved on both counts in the last 18 months.
Holder is a class act who will feel he owes South Africa after years of pain caused by the Proteas across all formats.
KAGISO RABADA V KRAIGG BRATHWAITE
Neither is coming into this series with much form.
New West Indies captain Brathwaite averaged just 26 for Gloucestershire in six English County Championship games.
Meanwhile, Rabada has looked flat for months. He picked up an injury last November in the T20 series against England which caused him to miss the Sri Lanka Tests, but for country and his IPL team he hasn’t fired.
ANRICH NORTJE V KYLE MAYERS
Left-hand batsman Mayers emerged from obscurity to make a double century on debut to guide the Windies to a thrilling victory in Bangladesh.
The confidence from that innings in February remains, but the bowling he will face in St Lucia is, with respect to Bangladesh, a class above.
Nortje was in outstanding form last summer and as Player of the Season, he will be keen to build on that success in the Caribbean.