Dale Steyn and Johan Botha took three wickets apiece as the West Indies fell to 134-7, only nineteen ahead of the Proteas’ 346.
Sulieman Benn provided an early indication of the assistance on offer for the spinners, wrapping up the South African tail for career-best figures of 6-81. Despite this and the deteriorating track the Proteas, led by Ashwell Prince (78*), were able to add 61 to their overnight score of 285.
The West Indies had been gifted the wicket of Boucher; runout on the second attempt following a mid-pitch collision. However, Prince held his nerve and proved immovable (invariably strandedwhen the tail failed to wag), but Botha was stumped by swift turn and Morne Morkel undone by one that held its line – both snared by Benn who gave the hosts a hint of hope.
South Africa’s first innings lead of 115 was lower than what they would have liked and the West Indies (also with two spinners) had the opportunity to set a defendable total for a fourth innings chase on the crumbling pitch. Rash shot selection derailed any such plans; a lack of composure once again their undoing.
Richards spooned a catch off a mistimed pull off Steyn, and Narsingh Deonarine was caught by Prince at short cover, driving expansively at his first ball. Though denied a hat-trick, Steyn returned to surprise Gayle with some inward movement and extra bounce, producing an edge to Mark Boucher.
Chanderpaul and Brendan Nash battled hard before tea but the widening cracks were exploited by Botha and Pauk Harris after the break to ask questions of the pair. It was Nash who was the most troubled; Botha snaring him with one that turned away sharply, nicking to slip. Denesh Ramdin again failed to produce an innings of substance – caught by Boucher trying to heave a Botha topspinner. At 75-6 the West Indies were staring down the barrel of a three-day humiliation.
Shane Shillingford provided an edgy cameo to give Chanderpaul assistance from the other end; once again abandoned by the top order. His 25 runs were by no means convincing, but it gave a few precious runs to the West Indian cause.
Chanderpaul brought up his 50, but a quicker delivery from Botha broke his 43-run stand with Shillingford – the later bowled lbw by a ball that didn’t turn. Botha’s third left the hosts teetering at 128-7, with only Chanderpaul (57*) Benn (4*), Kemar Roach and Brandon Bess remaining.
West Indies (first innings) 231 all out
Dwayne Bravo 61, Narsingh Deonarine 46, Johan Botha 4-56
South Africa (first innings) 346 all out
Ashwell Prince 78*, AB de Villiers 73, Sulieman Benn 6-81
West Indies (second innings) 134-7
Shivnarine Chanderpaul 57*, Dale Steyn 3-31, Johan Botha 3-34
West Indies lead by 19 runs with three wickets remaining.
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