South Africa sweep to overwhelming series victory

<preform>West Indies 296 &amp; 166 <br>South Africa 548-9 Dec</preform>
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The Independent Online

Makhaya Ntini and Andre Nel once more demolished the West Indies top order to tighten South Africa's stranglehold on the fourth morning of the third Test yesterday.

The notoriously fragile West Indies batting suffered its habitual meltdown as South Africa swept towards an overwhelming, series-clinching victory on the fourth day of the third Test yesterday.

The victory, by an innings and 86 runs, followed their win by eight wickets in the second Test after the first was drawn. The last Test, now irrelevant, starts in Antigua on Friday.

Behind by 252 when South Africa declared their first innings at 548 for nine a half-hour into the day, the first three West Indies were swept away for 17 in the space of four balls by Makhaya Ntini and Andre Nel and were not allowed to recover by their rampant opponents who secured an impregnable 2-0 lead in the series with one match remaining.

They were dismissed on a true pitch for 166 in 54.2 overs 55 minutes after tea with the highest score of 68 coming from the No 8, wicket-keeper Courtney Browne. Man of the match Nel, the big fast bowler, finished with six for 32, among them Brian Lara for the eighth time in six Tests, lbw for 13, bringing his match figures to 10 for 88 and his tally in the series to 17.

Ntini's two for 40 boosted his series tally to 16, following his record 13 in the second Test.

It was the West Indies' fourth successive defeat at Kensington Oval where they were unbeaten for 59 years between 1935 and 1994.

Ntini despatched Chris Gayle and Ramnaresh Sarwan with the fifth and sixth balls of the sixth over and Nel removed Wavell Hinds two balls later, all to slip catches, as the West Indies subsided to 17 for three.

They were 12 for three in the first innings when Lara hit his scintillating 196 but the left-hander could not repeat the feat this time, Nel removing him after an hour and 10 minutes of careful defence.

When Nel dismissed captain Shivnarine Chanderpaul, also lbw for 31 in his next over, the West Indies were 63 for five and only Browne's aggression, including four sixes, delayed the South Africans.