AB de Villiers smashed six sixes and 13 fours in his 135* to propel the Proteas to 543-6 in day two of the second Test.
Jacques Kallis’ hundred (110) contrasted the ferocity of de Villiers’, and though West Indies didn’t exhibit the clumsiness of day one, the blunted bowling attack remained – appearing to play out the overs until the eventual declaration. The opening session was notably watchful – the preservation of wickets key to the South African cause – but the afternoon session heralded greater impetus, spearheaded by de Villiers.
He started off the day watchfully, but against the likes of Ravi Rampaul, who repeatedly offered up half-volleys outside off-stump, found his rhythm quickly. Bringing up his 50 shortly after the break, de Villiers set to work. His first fifty had come off 84 balls, his second just 46. Unlike Kallis (who plodded around for 15 balls on 99) de Villiers wasted little time, launching Sulieman Benn over long-on for six to rocket past the hundred mark.
Kallis’ innings, though absent of the flare of de Villiers, consolidated the foundation laid by Graeme Smith’s 132 on the previous day. However, it was not without highlight; before lunch Kallis flicked Bravo past midwicket to pass 11000 Test runs (the sixth batsman to do so) and pushed the visitors toward their eventual declaration.
After spending the better part of two days on the field, Chris Gayle and Narsingh Deonarine saw off Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel (the later having dismissed Travis Dowlin early), West Indies reaching 86 for 1 before bad light forced an early end to the day.
Needing a strong response, Gayle led watchfully against the seamers early on, lashing out only against the fuller deliveries – scorching seven fours. Deonarine too capitalised on the pitched up deliveries, welcoming Paul Harris with a mammoth hit over long-on.
With the West Indian pair having found their feet, the morning and middle sessions of day three will prove decisive – if South Africa can snare the hosts cheaply they will the staring into the eye of a ninth consecutive victory in the Caribbean.
South Africa (first innings) 543-6 declared
AB de Villiers 135*, Graeme Smith 132, Shane Shillingford 3-193
West Indies (first innings) 86-1
Chris Gayle 44*, Narsingh Deonarine 33*, Morne Morkel 1-29
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