Gibbs century puts South Africa on top

Herschelle Gibbs stroked a magnificent century as South Africa moved into a strong position on the second day of the second Test.

india Updated: Dec 27, 2003 22:07 IST

Herschelle Gibbs stroked a magnificent century as South Africa moved into a strong position on the second day of the second Test at Kingsmead Saturday.

Opening batsman Gibbs thrashed 142 as South Africa reached 303 for three at the close, 39 ahead of the West Indian first innings total of 264.

Gibbs and Jacques Kallis (74 not out) punished the West Indian bowlers during a third wicket stand of 168 off 208 balls after posting a century partnership in 82 minutes off only 115 balls.

West Indian captain Brian Lara was reduced to setting defensive fields, with as many as five men on the boundary.

It was the first innings played by Gibbs since he had to retire hurt with a broken nose after missing a hook against Vasbert Drakes in the second innings of the first Test in Johannesburg 12 days ago. He had to have an operation to reset a nasal bone.

"It was the first time I got seriously hurt so it was at the back of my mind," Gibbs admitted.

"But I had two good nets before the match and you just need to face one or two bouncers in the middle to put it behind you."

Gibbs showed no signs of anxiety or hesitation in his strokeplay and included some meaty pulls as well as exquisitely timed cover drives.

He reached his 11th Test century off 130 balls when he pulled Drakes to the midwicket boundary shortly before tea.

He was out after hitting 17 fours in a 175-ball innings when he was bowled off an inside edge trying to pull Adam Sanford.

It was Gibbs' first Test century against the West Indies, although he previously hit six half-centuries in ten matches against them.

He described it as one of his best innings.

"From the word go my feet moved nicely and I felt really balanced. Things went smoothly, especially after I got to 50."

Gibbs said it was important that South Africa pressed on when the match resumed Sunday.

"We need to get at least another 150 or 200 ahead," he said.

Kallis became the second South African after Gary Kirsten to reach 5000 Test runs when he reached 24.

South Africa's dominance on a warm, sunny day, in contrast to the overcast conditions in which the West Indies struggled for most of their innings, put them in a strong position to take a 2-0 lead in the four-match series and to gain their seventh win in as many Tests between the two teams in South Africa.

It took South Africa almost an hour to claim the last two West Indian wickets, while the tourists added 32 runs Saturday morning.

Drakes and Sanford took their ninth wicket partnership to 70 before both were out in the space of 11 balls. Drakes made a Test-best 67, while South African fast bowler Makhaya Ntini took five wickets for 66 runs.

Drakes went to a maiden Test half-century in spectacular style when he hooked former provincial teammate Ntini for six. The pair played together for Border for seven seasons before Drakes made his Test debut last year at the age of 33.

Graeme Smith and Gibbs put on 38 for South Africa's first wicket before Smith slashed a ball from Edwards to a fielder who had been placed at deep backward point for the shot.

Jacques Rudolph (36) put on 61 for the second wicket with Gibbs before he was caught at gully off Sanford.

Gibbs and Kallis then took command, with the West Indies seemingly powerless to stop the flow of runs. Even when Lara placed men on the boundaries, the scoring rate stayed above five runs an over during the partnership.

The dismissal of Gibbs caused a slowdown, with Kallis and Gary Kirsten taking 62 minutes to add another 36 before bad light stopped play.

First Published: Dec 27, 2003 19:33 IST