West Indies vs South Africa 2nd Test Preview: On the back of red-hot Rabada, Nortje & Ngidi, Proteas look to take series 2-0
South Africa are placed at the seventh spot in the ICC Test rankings, but it is hardly a reflection of their ability as a Test playing nation.
SA a much better side than rankings suggest
In fact, this is the lowest rank that the team has had over a long, long time. They certainly did not play like a No. 7 ranked team in the first test.
There are a number of quality players in the South African unit including the newly-appointed captain Dean Elgar, his batting partner Aiden Markram, young and upcoming batting star Rassie van der Dussen, world-class wicket keeper batsman Quinton de Kock, wily spinner Keshav Maharaj, handy all-rounder Wiaan Mulder and three sensational pace bowlers Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi, Anrich Nortje all of whom have the ability to touch 150 kph.
Proteas' poor returns
Still, South Africa haven't been able to produce the kind of performances they would like to. After they beat Pakistan 3-0 in 2018-19, the team has been able to register just four test victories from 14 matches including their win by an innings and 63 runs at the Daren Sammy Cricket Stadium against West Indies in the first match of the ongoing test series.
The team lost 2-0 in Sri Lanka and was thrashed 3-0 by India. South Africa did win in the first test match against England in the four match test series but lost the remaining three games by big margins to concede the series.
They then put up a good show against Sri Lanka at home, but with several of the Sri Lankan players injured and the team lacking quality, it was hardly a victory to rejoice over. South Africa did struggle a bit in Pakistan but there were pockets when the team showed their capabilities and put the home side under pressure.
A corner turned
With each of their three pace bowlers fit, South Africa were expected to have a big impact in the two test matches against West Indies. The fact that they were playing under a new captain in Dean Elgar also marked a new starting point for the team.
This is exactly what South Africa was able to achieve in the first test match right from the point when they lost the toss, and the bowlers got a chance to make use of some pretty helpful bowling conditions in St Lucia.
Chase and Seales the only positives for WI
Roston Chase was the sole half centurion for West Indies in the match and their batters certainly need to do some soul searching. They did put in some fight in the second innings but it was clearly not enough to avoid an innings defeat.
The only other positive for West Indies in the match was the bowling of debutant Jayden Seales who began brilliantly.
SA well-paced to sweep series
As South African captain Dean Elgar pointed out after victory in the last test match, Rabada, Ngidi and Nortje are world-class pacers and it will take a special effort from the West Indies batsmen to counter them.
"Massive effort from the guys, asked them to score hundreds and take fifers and we've already had three accolades," Elgar said. "The basics of bowling is what the bowlers did well here. We knew the wicket was going to assist the bowlers. We were pleased to be bowling on this wicket.
"Lungi was brilliant, he executed the basics of bowling to the T. Quinny showed what a world class cricketer and batter that he is. KG is one of those guys who puts in hardwork. Anrich is a massive trump card for our bowling attack. Helps to have a 140+ bowler. Great to have a player like him in our team."
It is tough to imagine how West Indies can flip things around in a matter of a week and if the bowling conditions are anywhere as helpful as they were in the first test match, South Africa are expected to win this match, and do it quite comfortably.
Here's a look at the probable playing XIs:
West Indies - Kraigg Brathwaite (c), Kieran Powell, Shai Hope, Kyle Mayers, Jermaine Blackwood, Roston Chase, Joshua Da Silva (wk), Jason Holder, Rahkeem Cornwall, Kemar Roach, Jayden Seales
South Africa - Dean Elgar (c), Aiden Markram, Keegan Petersen, Rassie van der Dussen, Kyle Verreynne, Quinton de Kock (wk), Keshav Maharaj, Wiaan Mulder, Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi, Anrich Nortje
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