South Africa A complete turnaround to clinch series against West Indies A

Proteas’ coach Shukri Conrad guided South Africa A to a series win against West Indies A in Benoni on Friday

Proteas’ coach Shukri Conrad guided South Africa A to a series win against West Indies A in Benoni on Friday. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

Published Dec 8, 2023


Coming from behind in a series is never a simple task, however, coach Shukri Conrad and his South Africa A team successfully completed an almost impossible turn around on Friday in Bloemfontein, winning two matches on the bounce having lost the first unofficial Test against West Indies A last month.

In that first match at Willowmoore Park in Benoni, one key aspect of red ball cricket was missing, thereby leading to the loss of the series opener. Despite Neil Brand’s second innings century in Benoni, the rest of the batting unit failed to rise up to the occasion, handing the visitors a narrow victory to go 1-0 up in the series.

It seems, whatever message Conrad communicated to his team did the trick as Keegan Petersen smashed a timely second innings century to follow his first innings half century in the second Test at Bufalo Park in East London, while Raynard van Tonder showed heart with back-to-back fifties in the match to level the series 1-1.

In the series decider this week, Neil Brand and Khaya Zondo scored first innings half centuries in what was a difficult pitch to set the game up for the hosts, while a second innings century from Zubayr Hamza and an 80-odd from Ruan de Swardt saw the hosts clinch the series 2-1 at the Mangaung Oval in Bloemfontein.

As far as addressing one of the most pressing issues in red ball cricket in the country, the batters' inability to convert starts into centuries, Conrad and his fringe players have demonstrated signs to have finally turned a corner toward being competent enough to win First-Class matches in international cricket.

Furthermore, Conrad now has a better understanding of who is ready to tour New Zealand next year with Dane Piedt having also made a case for himself with a match-winning 11-wicket haul in East London, while Dane Paterson's 8-for in the third Test gave Conrad a glimpse of what the experienced seamer is capable of achieving in whites.

South Africa A now carry positive momentum to the unofficial Test series scheduled to be played against India and India A from next week.


South Africa: 274 all out (Zondo 70, Brand 62, Sinclair 5/44, Joseph 3/65)

West Indies: 126/9 (Sinclair 50, Johnson 33, Paterson 4/34, Viljoen 2/43)

South Africa: 275/5 (Hamza 110*, De Swardt 86, Joseph 5/ 76)

West Indies: 344 all out (Da Silva 110, McKenzie 81, Paterson 4/66, De Swardt 2/45)

South Africa win by 76 runs

South Africa A Upcoming Fixtures:

1st Match (4 Day Match)

11-14 December at JB Marks Oval in Potchefstroom.

2nd Match (3-Day Match)

20-22 December at TUKS Oval in Pretoria (India vs India A - internal match)

3rd Match (4-Day Match)

26-29 December at Willowmoore Park in Benoni.

IOL Sport