led by Jacques Kallis, took the time to have a glorified net session, and improve their batting averages, as the second Test against West Indies meandered to an inevitable draw on Tuesday.
Kallis finished with an unbeaten 62, to follow-up his first innings hundred, as the South Africans declared on 235 for three in their second innings to effectively end the match about an hour after tea on the fifth and final day at Warner Park.
The result meant that the Proteas continue to lead the three-Test series 1-0, after they won the opening Test in Trinidad by 163 runs.
The third and final Test starts on Saturday at Kensington Oval in Barbados.
Pitch not very challenging
“This was not an exciting surface on which to play Test cricket,” said South Africa captain Graeme Smith. “We were all looking for a good, even battle between bat and ball.
“Hopefully, Barbados will have a little bit more in the pitch, and it will be more of a fair challenge for both sides.”
Smith admitted he found West Indies’ tactics on the fourth day perplexing, when their batsmen crawled through the morning session, only scoring 39 runs from 26 overs, and generally playing it safe.
“Our tactics [on the fourth day] were that West Indies had batted themselves into a position, and being 0-1 down, we felt they had an opportunity to make a play,” he said.
“They didn’t make the play, and they were defensive, which played into our hands, so we had to bat out [this] day, and we head to Barbados still up 1-0.”
Kallis, who struck a half-dozen fours and a single six from 128 balls, and AB de Villiers, not out 31, batted through the final three hours to add 104 — unbroken — for the fourth wicket, as West Indies endured a fruitless toil towards the end of the match.
Happy with the result
The two batted resolutely to restore stability to the South Africans’ batting, after they wobbled to 131 for three, as things meandered aimlessly.
“I am very happy with the result,” said West Indies captain Chris Gayle.
“Our batting has been struggling, and to get over 500 runs is a great achievement.
“We must commend the guys for the way they batted. Shiv [Chanderpaul] and [Brendan] Nash getting hundreds was always going to be good for us.”
Gayle defended his side’s go-slow tactics on the penultimate day, and he noted that they have not been batting well in recent matches, so they wanted to make the most of the opportunity.
“I am satisfied because our plan was to bat out the day, and when you looked at the way they bowled at us it was always going to be difficult for us to score, so we just tried to bat as many overs as possible,” he said.
Before lunch, two wickets in the final half-hour rocked the Proteas, and shook some life back into the match.
South Africa, resuming from their overnight total of 23 without loss, made a positive start with Smith and Petersen taking them safely pass 50 through much of the first hour.
But Smith was caught behind off Shillingford for 46, after he shared an opening stand of 74 with Petersen.
Things appeared to be drifting aimlessly, when Amla joined Petersen, and they proceeded to play circumspectly.
Amla was fortunate twice on 18 and 20, when a Shillingford no-ball was discovered on a West Indies referral to the TV umpire for a bat-pad catch to slip, and slip fielder Dwayne Bravo dropped an easy chance respectively.
Shillingford regained his composure, and had the bearded batting stylist caught at leg gully for 41 in the penultimate over before the interval.
Petersen was then spectacularly bowled, when Dwayne Bravo extracted his off-stump with a yorker to spur roar the match back to life.
After lunch, Kallis and de Villiers dug-in, and carried the South Africans to 214 for three at tea.
Kallis reached his 50 from 93 balls in the penultimate over before the break, when he worked Sulieman Benn through square leg for a single.
De Villiers almost got himself run out, when he worked a delivery from Shillingford behind square leg, trotted through for a single, and just managed to beat Kemar Roach’s throw to the bowler’s end.
After tea, the passage of play was a mere formality, as the two teams accepted a result was highly improbable, if not impossible. — AFP