South Africa dominated over the visitors in first Test © Getty Images
South Africa dominated over the visitors in first Test © Getty Images

By Ayush Gupta

Dec 25, 2014

As South Africa lock horns in the second of the three-Test series against the visiting Caribbeans at St George’s Park, they would look to seal the series with another victory. Being in the driver’s seat after a comfortable win by an innings and 220 runs at Centurion, South Africa are the clear favourites as they head into the second game.

South Africa’s batting has been sensational at Centurion. Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers and debutant Stiaan van Zyl all scored centuries and helped South Africa post a total 552 for five. Amla slammed 208; de Villiers, 152; and van Zyl, an unbeaten 101. However, the top order failed to perform. They need to fire at St George’s Park.

With the ball, Dale Steyn rocked the West Indian batsmen with his fierce pace and ended up claiming six wickets in the second innings. Vernon Philander and Morne Morkel claimed five wickets apiece to bowl out West Indies for 201 and 131.

West Indies, on the other hand, failed in all departments. The bowlers were claimed five wickets, but at the cost of plenty. Kemar Roach and Sulieman Benn managed two wickets each while Sheldon Cottrell claimed the crucial wicket of Dean Elgar early in the innings.

West Indies batted decently in the first innings. Four of their top-order batsmen scored in excess of thirty, but failed to make it big. Moreover, they were unable to build strong partnerships, and were bowled out cheaply.

After South Africa imposed the follow-on on Day Three, it was a disaster for the Caribbean batting with Leon Johnson (39) being the only one to reach 30.

Focusing on the team composition for the second game, South Africa would not want to make significant changes to the winning squad. However, considering the fact that their top-order batsmen had failed to fire, skipper Amla [i1] can consider bringing in Temba Bavuma or Rilee Rossouw for Elgar or Alviro Petersen.

The bowling line-up is expected to remain unchanged. Although the injury to Quinton de Kock could concern the Proteas but Bavuma or Rossouw can provide the support and so could Imran Tahir who comes in for injured Robin Petersen.

West Indies, however, could see quite a few changes in all departments and mostly their middle order which has failed to score in both the innings. Denesh Ramdin will be expected to lead from the front in order to boost hope in the troubled West Indies squad.

A few changes in the bowling department could be good as well as they need to restrict the South African batsmen to a decent total which the West Indies could be comfortable in chasing down.

Squads:

South Africa: Hashim Amla (c), Alviro Peterson, Dean Elgar, AB de Villiers (wk), Faf  du Plessis, Rilee Rossouw, Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, Vernon Philander, Imran Tahir, Kyle Abbott, Temba Bavuma, Stiaan van Zyl, Kagiso Rabada.

West Indies: Denesh Ramdin (c & wk), Devon Smith, Leon Johnson, Kraigg Brathwaite, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Marlon Samuels, Jermaine Blackwood, Chadwick Walton (wk), Sulieman Benn, Sheldon Cottrell, Shannon Gabriel, Jason Holder, Narsingh Deonarine, Kenroy Peters, Jerome Taylor.

Time:  08:30 GMT | 14:00 IST

(Ayush Gupta is a reporter at CricketCountry. A passionate supporter of Manchester United, he idolises Roger Federer)