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Harmer Makes Instant Impression

Simon Harmer bowls
Simon Harmer bowls during the opening day in Cape Town
©REUTERS / Action Images

West Indies 276-6 (Johnson 54) v South Africa
Third Test, Cape Town, day one


Simon Harmer had a memorable first day as a Test cricketer as he took three wickets to leave the West Indies at 276 for six on day one of the third and final Test in Cape Town.

The off-spinner survived attempts to hit him out of the attack early on to take the wickets of Devon Smith, Leon Johnson and Shivnarine Chanderpaul.

Johnson (54) and Denesh Ramdin (53) hit half-centuries for the West Indies to ensure the honours were more or less even on an intriguing first day at Newlands.

Dale Steyn (2-54) and Stiaan van Zyl (1-13) were the other wicket-takers alongside Harmer, who ended with three for 72.

Steyn's brace of wickets moved him ahead of Makhaya Ntini into second place on the list of South African Test wicket-takers, with 391 in total.

Shaun Pollock sits at the top of the table with 421.

After the West Indies won the toss and chose to bat first, South Africa could have done with Pollock's metronomic accuracy as their seamers allowed the West Indians to make a good start.

Steyn - who would later bowl a horrendously wide delivery (see tweet below) - pegged them back when Kraigg Brathwaite drove outside off and edged to Dean Elgar in the gully for seven.

Is this the worst delivery Dale Steyn has ever bowled?

Devon Smith (47) and Johnson then saw their way through a testing spell from Morne Morkel and looked to get after Harmer when he was brought on, only for the 25-year-old to bowl Smith with the final ball before lunch, which was taken with the West Indies on 80 for two.

Johnson then advanced to his second Test half-century as at the other end Marlon Samuels made a fluent 43 as they put on 51 for the third wicket until Johnson was trapped in front by Harmer, undone by a lack of foot movement against the skidding ball.

Samuels, who looked good during his 70-ball stay at the crease took the score on to 162 before he fell to van Zyl's first delivery, driving him straight to extra cover where Faf du Plessis took the catch.

Chanderpaul's poor series continued when he was stumped - for just the second time in his career - by de Villiers as Harmer's dream day got even better; the veteran had made just nine in 48 balls.

From 172 for five, however, the West Indies rallied, thanks to an unbeaten 45 in 102 balls from Jermaine Blackwood and 53 in 103 balls from captain Ramdin.

Together they added 94 for the sixth wicket and it was broken, not long before stumps, when Ramdin was caught and bowled by Steyn.

Blackwood held firm however, and was joined by Jason Holder, who had made five by close of play.

South Africa lead the series 1-0 after a crushing victory at Centurion and a draw in Port Elizabeth.

© Cricket World 2015