South Africa were left frustrated by the incessant rain at Port Elizabeth © Getty Images
South Africa were left frustrated by the incessant rain at Port Elizabeth © Getty Images

By Ankur Dhawan

Jan 1, 2015

The customary New Year Test match, between South Africa and West Indies at Cape Town has attained relevance, courtesy a rain truncated second Test at Port Elizabeth, which ended in a tame draw.

The rain teased the Proteas and their fans alike till the curtain was drawn on what turned out to be a drab of a Test match. South Africa were left frustrated by the incessant rain at Port Elizabeth, where a day’s worth cricket may have sufficed for them to force a result. The third Test provides another opportunity to the likes of Temba Bavuma, Stiaan van Zyl and Imran Tahir to stake claim for permanent spots in the absence of key players such as JP Duminy and Quinton de Kock.

The visitors however, were visibly pleased after securing a draw, albeit they had very little part to play in it. A few positives emerged from the match as the West Indies top order found some form. A few noteworthy performances were Kraigg Brathwaite’s third Test ton, which comes as a whiff of fresh air, as the Windies have been longing for a consistent opening batsman for donkey’s years. Brathwaite seems to fulfill all criteria that make an opening Batsman tick, patience, doggedness and an ability to invariably dispatch the ball when bowled to his strengths.

Marlon Samuels was nip and tuck with Brathwaite as he too stamped his authority over the series with a 100 which served as a reminder of his irrefutable talent. However, either side of the partnership between the pair, the West Indies displayed brittleness of glass. The tourists have had a penchant for abrupt middle and lower order collapses. Taking their batting woes into account, they may have to rethink their team combination and bolster the batting.

Cape Town was robbed off a The New Year Test, last year as India pulled out sighting a packed schedule ahead. The fans will be queuing up for the New year Jamboree that awaits them at Newlands.

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

(Ankur Dhawan is a reporter with CricketCountry. Heavily influenced by dystopian novels, he naturally has about 59 conspiracy theories for every moment in the game of cricket. On finding a direct link between his head and the tip of his fingers, he also writes about it)