1st Test: West Indies look to pounce on unsettled South Africa
GROS-ISLET (Saint Lucia): West Indies begin a two-Test contest in opposition to South Africa on Thursday with the house facet believing they’ve their greatest probability in 30 years of overcoming the unsettled guests in a collection on the Daren Sammy Cricket Ground in St Lucia.
Kraigg Brathwaite’s crew are unbeaten of their final 4 Tests – a 2-0 triumph in Bangladesh and drawn matches at house to Sri Lanka.
They go into the marketing campaign ranked simply forward of a Proteas crew reeling from successive heavy defeats in two Tests in Pakistan.
They even have senior opening batsman Dean Elgar put in as Test captain following the retirement of Faf du Plessis from the standard format.
West Indies suffered a setback main into the opening Test when their quickest bowler, Shannon Gabriel, was dominated out by damage.
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It opens the prospect of 19-yr-previous pacer Jayden Seales making a Test debut though his lack of expertise – he has performed only one first-class match – might see the selectors choosing Alzarri Joseph.
Brathwaite, Joseph and senior seamer Kemar Roach have all benefited from stints on the English county circuit following the top of the Sri Lanka collection.
It stays to be seen if the West Indies captain may have Kieran Powell or Shai Hope as his companion on the prime of the batting order.
Hope signalled his readiness for a return to the Test fold with a half-century adopted by 100 within the 4-day intra-squad heat-up match on the Test venue.
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However Powell, who scored a second innings 95 in organising his crew’s victory in that encounter, affords the variation of a left-hander in his personal quest for a Test comeback.
South Africa, who’re enjoying their first Test collection within the Caribbean since 2010, look set to give Keegan Petersen a debut within the center-order as a straight substitute for the departed du Plessis.
Their batting will rely closely on the expertise of Elgar and Aiden Markram on the prime of the order with wicketkeeper-batsman Quinton de Kock and Temba Bavuma being counted on to additionally produce runs.
Both sides acknowledge that bowling is their robust swimsuit going into the collection.
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South African hopes for efficient firepower will relaxation closely on the shoulders of Kagiso Rabada with help from Anrich Nortje and Lungi Ngidi.
South Africa’s expectation of slower pitches than for his or her earlier visits suggests although that they are going to maintain their choices open so far as further spinning help for knowledgeable orthodox left-armer Keshav Maharaj.
“It would be great for this team to get in the habit of eking out Test match victories,” mentioned West Indies head coach Phil Simmons in wanting forward to the collection.
A member of the facet which pulled off a sensational come-from-behind victory within the first-ever Test encounter between the 2 groups in Barbados in 1992, he would not learn a lot into his crew being ranked one spot forward of the seventh-positioned South Africans.
“Obviously we wish to get nearer to primary, however we simply need to maintain enjoying our greatest cricket and let the rating take care of itself,” he defined.
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For Charl Langeveldt, South Africa’s bowling coach, preparation is vital for the vacationers to emerge from the trough.
“It’s also encouraging for our faster bowlers to see the amount of assistance they are getting in these humid conditions with the Dukes ball, when we would have played with the Kookaburra brand on previous tours of the West Indies,” he mentioned.
Following the 2 Tests, the groups will meet in a 5-match T20 International collection in neighbouring Grenada because the countdown to the World T20 later this yr intensifies.
West Indies: Kraigg Brathwaite (captain), Shai Hope, Nkrumah Bonner, Kyle Mayers, Roston Chase, Jermaine Blackwood, Jason Holder, Joshua da Silva (wicketkeeper), Rahkeem Cornwall, Alzarri Joseph, Kemar Roach
South Africa: Dean Elgar (captain), Aiden Markram, Rassie van der Dussen, Keegan Petersen, Temba Bavuma, Quinton de Kock (wicketkeeper), Wiaan Mulder, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, Lungi Ngidi