South Africa keen to finish Windies tour triumphant
South Africa intend to finish their tour of the Caribbean as strongly as they started, with a victory in the third and final Test against West Indies that begins on Saturday at Kensington Oval.cricket Updated: Jun 26, 2010 01:50 IST
South Africa intend to finish their tour of the Caribbean as strongly as they started, with a victory in the third and final Test against West Indies that begins on Saturday at Kensington Oval.
The South Africans have an unbeatable 1-0 lead in the three-Test series, and have already retained the Vivian Richards Trophy, symbol of excellence between the two sides.
This follows a 163-run victory inside four days for the Proteas two Sundays ago at Queen's Park Oval in Trinidad, and a draw last Tuesday at Warner Park in St. Kitts.
"We have had an excellent tour of the West Indies so far, and it would be a pity not to finish it off on a high note," said South Africa captain Graeme Smith.
"We did not have an even contest between bat and ball in (St. Kitts), which made it very difficult to get a result.
"But, judging from what we have seen in Barbados during the recent Twenty20 World Cup, there is a good chance of having a surface with reasonable bounce there.
"I don't believe we have lost any momentum by drawing (the second Test). Nearly all of our batsmen showed good form, and that is the one positive we can take out of the match."
West Indies can still come away with some pride, if they build on their performance in St. Kitts, and level the series.
"We shall be going all out for a victory," said West Indies captain Chris Gayle. "We are definitely going to give it our best shot.
"We need someone to fill the gap in our bowling. We need someone, or some help for us to get 20 wickets, which will help us win the Test match.
"Barbados is always a good place for bowling, so we will be looking to make the win happen, but we will have to get the runs on the board, and hopefully our fortune in the series can turn."
Pitch supervisor Winston Reid has ruled out a traditional hard, bouncy, seamer-friendly pitch, so another high-scoring draw may be on the cards.
The former Barbados left-arm spinner advised the fast bowlers to exploit the new ball because the surface should settle down after the first few hours, and favour batting.
With his protege Sulieman Benn likely to form a key part in the West Indies attack, and Shane Shillingford also bowling well, Reid quipped that he would be trying to help two fellow slow bowlers.
For sure, he will be aiming to improve on the flat deck that greeted England last year, when they piled up 600 for six declared, West Indies replied with 749 for nine declared, and the visitors reached 279 for two in their second innings for a match aggregate of
South Africa are not likely to change their line-up, but West Indies will be forced to make at least two changes.
The selectors have dropped makeshift opening batsman Travis Dowlin, and this should allow his replacement Dale Richards to play his first Test on home soil.
Richards made two half-centuries in scoring 157 runs at an average of 39 in four of the five One-day Internationals that preceded the Tests, after gaining an 11th hour call-up.
He made his Test debut for West Indies last year against Bangladesh, when the leading players took industrial action to protest terms and conditions, scoring a half-century in the second Test in Grenada.
The other change for West Indies sees Ravi Rampaul not being considered, after picking up a side strain in St. Kitts, and returning to his native Trinidad & Tobago to rest and seek medical treatment.
Rookie fast bowler Nelon Pascal is the front-runner for the vacant spot, but Windward Islands team-mate and all-rounder Darren Sammy, whose batting, fielding, and professionalism are bonuses, is likely to challenge.
Kensington Oval was once the stronghold of West Indies in Tests. They won 12 consecutive matches there between 1978 and 1993, including the 1992 Test, which marked the return of the South Africans to international cricket, following 30 years of sporting isolation because of the apartheid regime.
West Indies however, have won just one of the last seven Tests.
West Indies (from): Chris Gayle (captain), Dwayne Bravo (vice captain), Sulieman Benn, Darren Bravo, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Narsingh Deonarine, Dale Richards, Brendan Nash, Nelon Pascal, Denesh Ramdin, Kemar Roach, Darren Sammy, Shane Shillingford
South Africa (from): Graeme Smith (captain), Jacques Kallis (vice captain), Hashim Amla, Johan Botha, Mark Boucher, Abraham deVilliers, Jean-Paul Duminy, Paul Harris, Ryan McLaren, Morne Morkel, Alviro Peterson, Ashwell Prince, Dale Steyn, Lonwabo Tsotsobe