Flurry of wickets foils South Africans

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The Independent Online

After spending the three and a half hours available on the first day without separating South Africa's openers AB de Villiers and captain Graeme Smith, West Indies enjoyed a bounteous morning on the second day of the Fourth Test yesterday before the tourists restored order, Jacques Kallis and Ashwell Prince both contributing half-centuries as the score mounted to 385 for 4.

After spending the three and a half hours available on the first day without separating South Africa's openers AB de Villiers and captain Graeme Smith, West Indies enjoyed a bounteous morning on the second day of the Fourth Test yesterday before the tourists restored order, Jacques Kallis and Ashwell Prince both contributing half-centuries as the score mounted to 385 for 4.

In the two hours before lunch, the home side removed both De Villiers and Smith, each with a hundred already in the scorebook, in successive overs, then added Boeta Dippenaar through the first run-out chance they completed out of the three they had, and went on to claim an over-cautious Herschelle Gibbs in the last over before lunch.

The setbacks dramatically changed South Africa's approach. While De Villiers and Smith clattered along at four and a half runs an over in adding 214 on the previous day, Kallis and the left-handed Prince eeked out 17 runs in the first three-quarters of an hour of the second session.

On a pitch as benign as those that hosted Brian Lara's 375 in 1994 and his unbeaten 400 last year, it seemed that De Villiers, the classy, 21-year-old right-hander who first made an impression on debut in the recent home series against Engand, and Smith were capable of similar monumental scores.

When Dwight Washington, the tall Joel Garner lookalike who is making his debut, missed the chance of his first Test wicket with a floored, left-handed return catch after De Villiers had added only two runns to his overnight 103, West Indies appeared destined for more misery.

Suddenly, however, their fortunes changed. Flicking at a leg-side delivery from the lively Tino Best, De Villiers edged a catch to wicketkeeper Courtney Browne, his 114 - which followed his 178 in the Second Test - occupying 173 balls with a six and 13 fours being his main scoring shots.

Without a run added, Smith drove too early at Daren Powell and spooned a catch that Washington held this time at mid-on. The South African captain's 126, which was studded with 19 fours, was his third hundred in successive matches and his 11th in Tests.

When Dippenaar was run out for his second successive innings, sent back by Kallis on an attempted third run, the momentum seemed to have shifted. Gibbs's bat-pad catch to short-leg off Gayle on the stroke of lunch lifted West Indian spirits on the field and among another disappointingly small crowd.

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