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ew West Indies cricket captain Shivnarine Chanderpaul raising his hands in triumph at Bourda, Guyana,

Friday 01, April-2005


New West Indies cricket captain Shivnarine Chanderpaul raising his hands in triumph at Bourda, Guyana, yesterday after stroking his way to his 12th Test hundred and ninth in the Caribbean.

AT BOURDA – The gloom and despondency that has hovered over West Indies’ cricket for the past month quickly disappeared here yesterday and was replaced by a wonderful spectacle that hardly anyone would have predicted.
Reduced to a string of inxperienced players and parading a side that featured a staggering ten changes from the West Indies’ last appearance in a Test match, a new-look outfit surpassed expectations on the opening day of the first Digicel Test against South Africa.

To achieve a total of 347 for three at the end of a day cut short by 8.1 overs was nothing short of a grand triumph for which no praise can be too high.

They did so on the strength of a record fourth-wicketstand of 241 between the closely-watched Wavell Hinds and new captain Shivnarine Chanderpaul.


Speculation


Hinds, the subject ofpre-match speculation in relation to a potential players’ strike, has hardly batted with such aplomb in his five years as a Test cricketer. His unbeaten 188 off 230 balls was decorated with 30 boundaries in all directionsand most of the strokesin the book, including two wonderful sixes.

“One thing we must be cognisant of is that West Indies’ cricket is larger than all of us,” the left-hander said after his fifth Test century.

“What everyone is crying and screaming for is the common denominator in West Indies cricket. If you take that away from everything, everything else is nothing.

“Coming into the series, the onus would be on the players, not only myself, to make sure we play on the field and get some positive things on the field and erase what has been in the print media.”

 

Chanderpaul, who became only the third West Indies captain to mark his debut match at the helm with a century, ended the day unbeaten on 102, an innings that contained 15 fours off 173 balls and spiced with expert timing, placement and neat deflections. When he steered the fifth ball of the second new ball to third man, 7 000 fans at Bourda rose to acclaim his 12th Test hundred, fourth at Bourdaand third in succession at a ground he knows like the palm of his hand.


Fourth-wicket stand


Hinds and Chanderpaul, brought together at 106 for three after the animated Andre Nel had accounted for each of the wickets, spent the last three hours of the day in eclipsing the West Indies’ previous best fourth-wicket stand against South Africa, 174 between Chris Gayle and Ramnaresh Sarwan just over a year ago.

Neither Gayle nor Sarwan featured in the West Indies team here, even though both terminated their personal endorsement contracts with Cable & Wireless theprevious day.

The dispute in which they and five other players are involved led to the West Indies taking to the field with Chanderpaul as the lone survivor from the team that played against England at the Oval last August.

With the expection of Nel, no South African bowler posed a threat. Makhaya Ntini was a shadow of the livewire fast bowler he is known to be and his 15 overs were expensive and innocuous.

Jacques Kallis, the best all-rounder in the game, is still clearly trying to regain full fitness and was ruthlessly punished by Hinds and Chanderpaul, especially in the final session when West Indies clobbered the South Africans to the extent that 160 runs came after tea.


Disappointment


Ntini conceded 71 runs from his 15 overs, Kallis 66 from eight and the support staff of Charl Langeveldt and Andrew Hall didn’t seem to measure up to Test standard while Nicky Boje’s left-arm spin was also a huge disappointment.

The South Africans better hope that the world-class Shaun Pollock recovers in time to take his place for the second Test.

Hinds, entrenched from the first ball to the last, and Chanderpaul, batting on a ground where he averages more than 90, took the opportunity to cash in on a placid pitch, but South Africa didn’t help their cause with a couple of missed chances.

The first to Devon Smith on the last ball of the first over wasn’t costly, but they have paid dearly for letting off the two century-makers.

Hinds was 13 when the brilliant Herschelle Gibbs failed to hold on to a half-chance at gully which was high and to his right, and Chanderpaul was 60 when another high, diving effort was missed by wicket-keeper Mark Boucher.

The eventual close of play position seemed far-fetched when South Africa, and Nel to be precise, made early inroads after Chanderpaul chose to bat first on winning the toss.


Struck twice


Nel struck twice in the sixth over of the morning, claiming Devon Smith and Daren Ganga by way of catches to Boucher. Both were via defensive prods, the first being a diving effort in front of first slip and the second taken neatly low down.

In association with the confident debutant Donovan Pagon, Hinds repaired the early damage, the two Jamaicans adding 82.

For much of the one hour and three-quarters he was in, Pagon drove with certainty through the off-side, but Nel eventually outfoxed him when he drove a catch to short extra-cover.

SCOREBOARD:

WEST INDIES First Innings


WW Hinds not out ...188

(360 mins, 230 balls, 30x4, 2x6)

DS Smith c wk Boucher b Nel 11

(21 mins, 10 balls, 2x4)

D Ganga c wk Boucher b Nel 0

(4 mins, 5 balls)

DJ Pagon c Kallis b Nel 35

(106 mins, 72 balls)

*S Chanderpaul not out 102

(171 mins, 173 balls, 15x4)

Extras: (lb5, w2, nb4) 11

TOTAL: (3 wkts – 80.5 overs)... 347

Fall of wickets: 1-24 (Smith), 2-24 (Ganga), 3-106 (Pagon),

To bat: RO Hinds, N Deonarine, +CO Browne, DB Powell, PT Collins, RD King.

Bowling: Ntini 15-2-71-0 (nb2), Nel 18-6, 50-3 (nb1), Langveldt 16.5-3-49-0 (w1, nb1), Hall 8-3-27-0, Kallis 8-0-66-0 (w1), Boje 7-0-39-0, Smith 8-0-40-0.


SOUTH AFRICA – *G.C. Smith, A.B. de Villiers, JA Rudolph, J.H. Kallis, H.H. Gibbs, +MV Boucher, A.J. Hall, N. Boje, M. Ntini, C.K. Langeveldt, A. Nel.


Toss: West Indies.

Umpires: David Shepherd (England), Aleem Dar (Pakistan ). TV replays: Eddie Nicholls (Guyana ).

Match referee: Jeff Crowe (New Zealand).


 

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