Needing to bat through the last two days to avoid the whitewash that has been confidently expected throughout South Africa since as far back as the third Test, the West Indies second innings ended quarter of an hour after tea, all out for 217, to lose the match by the resounding margin of 351 runs.
The crestfallen West Indies captain, Brian Lara, said his team had been "thoroughly outplayed in every department by a much better team". But he also acknowledged divisions in his ranks. "The unity needs to be better," he said. "As a team, I'd prefer to have guys right together off the field and things would work better on the field, but you've got to remember we're all from different islands and different backgrounds."
But Lara ruled out the prospect of his relinquishing the captaincy. He said he was still acquiring the skills and experience of Test captaincy and did not think he should resign.
"I'm a learning captain," Lara said. "This is my first overseas tour and, as I told Hansie Cronje, it has not been a pleasure but it has been a great learning experience."
Asked if he still wanted to lead the West Indies, Lara replied: "It is not a case of wanting to captain the West Indies, it is a duty and an honour. I have always given my support to any captain I've played under and I have the support of the players here."
Lara felt that the drubbing was the end result of several years of poor performances. "The West Indian players here, and even the ones back home, should see what we can learn from this series to try and ensure that such a poor performance never happens again. West Indies cricket has been in decline for a few years, and this is the end result of it. We need to look at our cricket back home and see how we can improve it."
South Africa had only once before inflicted a similar clean sweep in a series, 4-0 over Australia in 1969-70, when the present chief of their United Cricket Board, Ali Bacher, was captain. His present day successor, Cronje, praised his own team but refused to be drawn into serious comparisons. "I'd say if we could play them now, I think we would win," he quipped at the presentation function. "They're all about 45 and 50 now, aren't they?"
Lara noted that hopes of a late rearguard action were unrealistic. "You've got 180 overs to face on the 24th and 25th days of a Test series after being four down. It's going to be very tough mentally to get the guys to stay out there as long as possible," he said.
The task should have been easier since Allan Donald, the spearhead of South Africa's attack, did not take the field, confined to the team room resting a strained hamstring. But they could have bowled Donald Duck; it would not have mattered, such was the West Indies' tortured state of mind.
As always, much depended on Lara himself to at least salvage a little pride but he never looked capable. He needed 24 balls for his first run and spent 71 balls and an hour and a half scoring 14, before he got himself into a tangle sweeping at the left-arm spinner, Paul Adams, and was plainly lbw.
Shivnarine Chanderpaul fell for the second time in the match to a miscued hook for 43, Carl Hooper contributed only 10 and it was left, again, to the left-hander Ridley Jacobs to save the West Indies even further shame.
In his first series, the 31-year-old wicketkeeper has been the one resounding West Indian success. He batted with the common sense and confidence that has been his hallmark in front of and behind the stumps throughout the series for 78, with a six and 12 fours his main scoring strokes.
He was ninth out in the first over after tea, caught behind off Jacques Kallis, the man of the series, and history was completed 10 minutes later as Courtney Walsh was bowled by Adams.
Fourth day; South Africa won toss
SOUTH AFRICA - First Innings 313 (M V Boucher 100, J H Kallis 83; C A Walsh 6-80).
WEST INDIES - First Innings 144 (B C Lara 68; A A Donald 5-49).
SOUTH AFRICA - Second Innings 399-5 dec (G Kirsten 134, J N Rhodes 103).
WEST INDIES - Second Innings (overnight 18-1)
P A Wallace c Boucher b Donald 4
D Ganga c Rhodes b Pollock 9
S Chanderpaul c Cronje b Kallis 43
*B C Lara lbw b Adams 14
C L Hooper lbw b Klusener 10
F L Reifer c Kallis b Adams 6
R D Jacobs c Boucher b Kallis 78
N A M McLean b Adams 33
M Dillon b Cullinan 5
R D King not out 2
C A Walsh b Adams 0
Extras (8nb, 5lb) 13
Total (75.2 overs) 217
Fall: 1-4 2-46 3-68 4-86 5-86 6-117 7-198 8-209 9-216 10-217.
Bowling: Donald 2-0-8-1; Pollock 16-5-38-1; Klusener 16-4-50-1; Adams 21.2-6-64-4; Cronje 5-3-8-0; Kallis 8-5-12-2; Cullinan 7-1-31-1.
Result: South Africa win match by 351 runs and win series 5-0.
Player of the Series: J H Kallis.
Umpires: S Venkataraghavan (India) and Rudi Koertzen (SA).
Television umpire: David Orchard.
TEST SERIES THAT HAVE ENDED 5-0
Australia (captain Warwick Armstrong) beat England (Johnny Douglas) in Australia.
Australia (Bill Woodfull) beat South Africa (Jock Cameron) in Australia.
England (Peter May) beat India (D K Gaekwad) in England.
West Indies (Frank Worrell) beat India (Nari Contractor) in West Indies.
West Indies (Clive Lloyd) beat England (David Gower) in England.
West Indies (Viv Richards) beat England (David Gower) in West Indies.
South Africa (Hansie Cronje) beat West Indies (Brian Lara) in South Africa.Reuse content