Rassie van der Dussen went to a sixth Test half-century with an outstanding performance in which he held the Proteas’ innings together. Picture: EPA
Rassie van der Dussen went to a sixth Test half-century with an outstanding performance in which he held the Proteas’ innings together. Picture: EPA

Rassie van der Dussen, Kagiso Rabada save Proteas from another batting nightmare

By Stuart Hess Time of article published Jun 20, 2021

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Day 3 of 5:

South Africa 298 and 174

West Indies 149 and 15/0

JOHANNESBURG - Well that was one way to move the game along quickly.

Rather than have the captain think about the timing of a declaration, South Africa got themselves bowled out, setting the West Indies 324 to win the second Test at the Daren Sammy Cricket Ground.

Time won’t be a problem, but the pitch, South Africa’s potent trio of quick bowlers and their batsmen’s mental fragility may prove troublesome for the West Indies.

South Africa revisited their own batting nightmares of recent years on the third day. Looking to build on a substantial advantage of 149 runs, the South Africans fell apart, reduced to 73/7 by the 28th over.

It took a fine partnership for the eight wicket between a resolute Rassie van der Dussen and an aggressive Kagiso Rabada to get South Africa passed their previous lowest score against the West Indies, 141 made 20 years ago in Jamaica.

The Proteas’ early problems were the result of some excellent fast bowling by Kemar Roach initially and later Kyle Mayers’ tricky swing bowling. The loss of the two openers, Aiden Markram, in the first over and Dean Elgar, sent nerves aflutter in the touring side’s dressing room.

The batting needed to be watchful, but South Africa were also tentative allowing the West Indies to bowl at them. One example of that was the dismissal of Keegan Petersen, who had looked reasonably assured in getting to 18, but then played an awful shot, swiping at a delivery from Mayers, with an angled bat and inside edging the ball onto his stumps.

The West Indies were all over the South Africans at that point with Mayers moving the ball whichever way he chose, getting Kyle Verreynne caught by ‘keeper Joshua da Silva with one that held its line while Wiaan Mulder’s struggles with the bat continued as he edged the same bowler to Shai Hope at gully.

Jason Holder showed great athleticism at second slip, diving to his right to end Keshav Maharaj’s stay at the crease. At that stage South Africa’s lead was 222, and the West Indies were certainly looking forward to chasing less than 300 in the fourth innings.

Rabada’s arrival saw South Africa lift their intensity. He put away a couple of boundaries, Van der Dussen began running harder between the wickets as the Proteas reverted pressure back onto the hosts.

Rabada went to his highest Test score when he launched Roach for a massive six over long on.

Van der Dussen went to a sixth Test half-century, an outstanding performance in which he held the innings together amidst that disastrous start.

Even after Rabada was dismissed for 40 - thanks to a smartly executed slower ball by Roach - hitting five fours and a six in an innings that lasted 48 balls. Van der Dussen still managed to add 30 more runs with the last two wickets to take the West Indies target passed 300. He ended on 75 not out, hitting five fours and a six, in a resilient innings.

Roach picked up 4/52 and Mayers 3/24, both showing brilliant skill.

Bad light ended play after six overs in the West Indies second innings. Play will start half an hour earlier on Monday (3.30pm SA time) to make up for time lost when rain delayed the start of play, causing the loss of the first session.

@shockerhess

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