We are on the front foot: Van der Dussen after rescuing South African second innings


Rassie van der Dussen of South Africa celebrates his half century. (AFP)
Rassie van der Dussen of South Africa celebrates his half century. (AFP)

Gros-Islet (Saint Lucia) - There has been no successful run-chase in Test matches at this venue since the first was played in 2003


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Published: Mon 21 Jun 2021, 12:20 PM

Last updated: Mon 21 Jun 2021, 12:35 PM

Rassie van der Dussen’s unbeaten 75 and support from Kagiso Rabada saved South Africa from a complete second innings collapse as they recovered from 73 for seven to eventually be dismissed for 174 on the rain-shortened third day of the second Test against the West Indies in St Lucia on Sunday.

That left the home side with a daunting victory target of 324 to level the series after they were thrashed by an innings and 63 runs in the first Test at the same Daren Sammy Stadium venue a week earlier.

Captain Kraigg Brathwaite and opening partner Kieran Powell negotiated six overs to the close of play with the Caribbean side set to resume on the fourth day at 15 without loss.

There has been no successful run-chase in Test matches at this venue since the first was played in 2003 and the highest fourth-innings total so far is 252 by the West Indies in a losing effort against England in 2019.

“They bowled really well and credit to them,” said van der Dussen in recognising the challenge facing his team when he was at the crease.

“We like where we are at the moment and even though we were in trouble batting in the second innings, we are on the front foot in this game and there was really no reason to panic.”

Seeking to build on a healthy first innings lead of 149 at the start of the day, the Proteas were first thwarted by heavy rain which resulted in the entire morning session’s play being lost.

When play did get underway, they lost early wickets to Kemar Roach before Kyle Mayers’ comparatively gentle seamers and swingers once again proved to be their undoing.

Roach prised out Aiden Markram in the first over of the innings.

Then after changing ends to replace struggling pacer Shannon Gabriel, he accounted for the other opener, captain Dean Elgar.

Both fell to catches by Jason Holder at second slip.

Elgar’s demise triggered a collapse with six wickets tumbling for another 40 runs before van der Dussen found a reliable partner in Rabada with the innings almost in complete ruins at 73 for seven.

Brathwaite quickly turned to Mayers, who led the bowling effort in the first innings with figures of three for 28.

He enjoyed immediate success when Keegan Peterson dragged a wide delivery onto his stumps.

Mayers then despatched Kyle Verreynne to a catch at the wicket and claimed his third victim when Wiaan Mulder’s attempted drive found Shai Hope at gully.

However the biggest celebration came just minutes before Mulder’s demise as Holder dismissed the prolific Quinton de Kock without scoring.

With scores of 141 not out and 96 in his two previous innings in the series, the jubilation of the West Indies players was understandable when the left-handed wicketkeeper-batsman edged his second delivery to wicketkeeper Joshua da Silva.

Holder’s brilliance in the slip cordon was again in evidence when he dived full-length to his right at second slip to come up with his 50th Test catch in accounting for Keshav Maharaj off young pacer Jayden Seales.

But Rabada mixed positivity and adventure with good sense in getting to 40, his highest Test score, and actually outscored van der Dussen in their 70-run eighth-wicket partnership before ambition got the better of him and he skied a catch to cover off the persevering Roach, who finished with four for 52.

Mayers’ haul of three for 24 gave him match figures of six for 52.

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