FIRST, Marlon Samuels looked like the hero of the fourth day’s play in the third test between SA and West Indies at Newlands yesterday.
Then Shivnarine Chanderpaul put up his hand ever so painstakingly. But, in the end, Dale Steyn tripped that light fandango. Or did Simon Harmer steal everybody’s thunder?
Steyn grabbed two wickets in two balls and later added another, while Harmer finished with 4/82. Steyn and Harmer claimed identical match figures of 7/153, and together they did much to cull the Windies’ lead to 123 runs.
West Indies, who resumed on 88/2, were dismissed for 215 in their second innings. They lost their last six wickets for an ominous 13 runs in 47 catastrophic deliveries. At stumps, SA were 9/1 after Alviro Petersen angled a delivery from Sulieman Benn onto his stumps.
And all that on a day’s play that started at 3pm and was reduced to 48.2 overs by rain.
The closest the visitors came to mounting a partnership that might have averted the 2-0 series loss that, given today’s forecast for clear skies, would seem to be SA’s impending triumph was when Samuels and Chanderpaul hung tough for two hours for the fourth wicket.
For almost four hours, Samuels took his responsibility on the chin. He was hit in the ribs by Steyn, edged Morne Morkel just short of the slips, and collided with Vernon Philander.
But he undid all his hard work when he holed out to off-spinner Harmer for 74. Samuels’ boast after he scored 101 at in the second test at St George’s Park – “I don’t think any spinner should bowl to me and dictate terms” – haunted him all the way back to a dressingroom.
“We knew if we could hang in there and break that partnership, the history of Newlands is a cluster of wickets could fall,” Morkel said. “We just needed to break the door down.” That done, Steyn struck his killer blows. He bowled Jermaine Blackwood with a wicked away swinger to end his 20th over and, to start his 21st, had Denesh Ramdin caught at square leg with an inswinger.
But it was Chanderpaul’s innings and cruel dismissal that will linger in the amber of memory. The 40-year-old, stern-faced, crab-footed, tungsten-tempered left-hander stood there and took it all, and gave even more back. He batted for 203 minutes and faced 113 balls for his 50, only the second time in his six trips to the crease in this series that he has not been dismissed in single figures.
Chanderpaul’s innings was ended by a man who had only just been born when the grand old man of test cricket was grown up enough to drink, drive and vote in many countries.
The throw from gully by Temba Bavuma, who is 16 years Chanderpaul’s junior, was straight and true and the stumps were splayed. – Telford Vice