South Africa overcame a spirited West Indies in the second test at Cape Town to level the 3-Test Series 1-1. The homeside sprung back beautifully under pressure after unexpectedly losing the first Test match. Ashwell Prince and Dale Steyn were the heroes for the Proteas in this second Test at Newlands. While Steyn picked up 8 wickets, Prince came up with a crucial 98 that helped SA take an important first innings lead.
Chris Gayle won the toss and decided to bat first although conditions weren’t all that easy for batting with the ball seaming around. Gayle led his side from the front in his usual aggressive batting style. However, all he could achieve was a cameo of 46 from 49 with a couple of fours and sixes each. After his departure, the inform Samuels and Chanderpaul stood firmly in the middle to consolidate the score. But once their century stand was broken by Ntini there was no looking back for the Proteas as they reduced the visitors to a disappointing 240 for 8 on Day 1. Samuels made 51 from 144 balls with 7 fours while Chanderpaul was still around unbeaten. On the second day, Chanderpaul didn’t get much opportunity to stretch the total as the remaining two wickets went cheaply. Chanderpaul got stranded on 65 that came in 223 balls with 6 fours.
Windies were bowled out for 243 in 92 overs. Steyn finished with 4 for 60 while Ntini got 3 for 61. The West Indian bowlers then did a tremendous job in getting their side strongly back in the test by reducing SA to 131 for 5. All the South African top order batsmen got off to a start but couldn’t kick onto make them into meaningful scores. Neil McKenzie, who replaced Herschelle Gibbs in the team made 23 after opening the batting. West Indies failed to wrap up SA’s first innings cheaply as their pace department clearly missed the services of Fidel Edwards, who had to stop from bowling because of a hamstring injury. The SA fightback was done by the pair of Prince and Boucher as they moved onto a safer 218 for 5 by the close of day 2.
The third day of the test match saw the homeside taking control of it after getting a valuable first innings lead of 78. Ashwell Prince narrowly missed a test hundred by two runs because of getting run out. His runs came in 225 balls with 11 fours. Earlier, he had a big partnership of 129 with Boucher, who made 59 from 137 balls with 6 fours. For the tourists, Dwayne Bravo emerged as the most succesful bowler taking 4 for 82 in 37 overs. Leg Spinner Rawl Lewis making his test match comeback got just the wicket of Dale Steyn. Windies in their second innings slipped to 96 for 4 despite a solid start from Ganga and make shift opener Denesh Ramdin. However, the opening pair and the other batsmen struggled to keep the scoreboard moving and Windies barely managed to get their runs at a rate of 2.00.
On the fourth day, the West Indian second innings did get into some shape thanks to Chanderpaul’s unbeaten 70 (from 168 balls with 4 fours and a six). Captain Chris Gayle made 38 (from 48 balls with 4 fours and 3 sixes) as West Indies made 262 towards the end. But that meant that SA had to chase a moderate target of 185. Graeme Smith this time had no mood in entertaining any initial trouble for the hosts to set up an easy 7-wicket win. The Captain smashed 85 in just 79 balls with 11 fours. The rest of the batting found it too easy to chase the runs down which they did in over 35 overs at a brisk rate of 5.26! Amla helped himself to 37 while AB de Villiers and Kallis chipped in with 20s. The Man of the Match was given to Ashwell Prince.