Cricket: Tourists kick off with a flourish

West Indies 249-7 v S Africa
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The Independent Online
By Tony Cozier

in Johannesburg

West Indies 249-7 v S Africa

THE WEST INDIES began their much-fanfared inaugural Test in South Africa with the expected bang yesterday, but had to choose more conventional methods to ensure they did not entirely squander the advantage of winning the toss.

Batting on a true, straw-coloured pitch that they believe will aid spin by the fourth day, they rattled up 53 off 13 overs in the first hour, mainly through a varied and breathtaking array of nine boundaries.

By then, they had also lost three wickets, the swashbuckling openers Clayton Lambert and Philo Wallace and the captain Brian Lara, spectacularly bowled off the inside-edge for 11, all to the impressive Shaun Pollock, who had also floored a couple of stiff return catches into the bargain.

This was the excitement South Africans feared they might be denied as Lara and his colleagues were making their board sweat over the pay negotiations in London that jeopardised the trip. But it could not last, and the remainder of the day developed into more measured fare as the tourists battled to recoup their early losses.

After the initial fireworks, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, the top scorer, with 74 that occupied more than a third of the day, and Carl Hooper spent two and a quarter hours rebuilding the innings with a circumspect partnership of 91 for the fourth wicket. When Chanderpaul became stalled after passing 50, Stuart Williams dominated a further stand of 45.

The patient South Africans snared all three before the total reached 200 and it was left to a level-headed, unbeaten 23 by the big fast bowler Nixon McLean, with help from the wicketkeeper Ridley Jacobs and the leg- spinner Rawl Lewis, to see out the day.

Hooper and Williams succumbed to the kind of loose strokes that have so often been their undoing when well set, while Chanderpaul was leg before after a vigil that lasted four and a half hours and 210 balls.

Allan Donald accounted for both Hooper, taken at solitary slip off a swish outside off-stump, and Chanderpaul. They were consolation prizes for the rough treatment South Africa's premier fast bowler had received before lunch, when his eight overs were plundered for 50 runs.

Among them were nine fours, four off successive balls by Hooper, who was dropped by Pollock off his third ball and by Jonty Rhodes at midwicket off Symcox the over before his demise. In between, he was handicapped by a groin strain that necessitated the use of Wallace as his runner.

First day; West Indies won toss

WEST INDIES - First Innings

C B Lambert c Boucher b Pollock 8

P A Wallace b Pollock 16

*B C Lara b Pollock 11

S Chanderpaul lbw b Donald 74

C L Hooper c Cullinan b Donald 44

S C Williams c Cronje b Terbrugge 35

R D Jacobs c Cronje b Kallis 14

N A M McLean not out 23

R N Lewis not out 11

Extras (lb6, w2, nb5) 13

Total (for 7, 90 overs) 249

Fall: 1-17, 2-24, 3-41, 4-132, 5-177, 6-198, 7-235.

To bat: C E L Ambrose, C A Walsh.

Bowling: Donald 20-3-83-2; Pollock 20-4-51-3; Kallis 15-5-37-1; Terbrugge 16-5-32-1; Cronje 1-0-3-0; Symcox 18-4-37-0.

SOUTH AFRICA: G Kirsten, J H Kallis, D J Cullinan, *W J Cronje, J N Rhodes, S M Pollock, M V Boucher, P L Symcox, A A Donald, D J Terbrugge.

Umpires: C J Mitchley and D R Shepherd.