Lungi Ngidi mowed down the bottom half of the West Indies batting order en route to a five-wicket transport as South Africa routed the home side for 97 on the opening day of the first test of the two-game series at Daren Sammy Cricket Ground in St. Lucia on Thursday. Playing their first series in the Caribbean in 11 years, the Proteas reached the end of the game at 128 for four, a 31-point lead. Opener Aiden Markram has scored so far with 60 goals, but he has been one of three wickets to drop to West Indies debutant Jayden Seales, who also represented two South African newcomers Keegan Petersen and Kyle Verreynne .
Rassie van der Dussen will resume the second morning in partnership with former captain Quinton de Kock.
Ngidi’s five-for-19 run was his second five-run run in trial cricket, with most of his success coming from the afternoon session after fashion designer Anrich Nortje pushed the West Indies on the back foot with three of the four wickets to fall into the pre-lunch period.
He added another midway through the final surrender to finish with four for 35.
That collapse featured a chaotic period either side of the lunch break as the West Indies lost five wickets for 11 points, including three with a score of 56, before being sent off for their lowest test innings total. never recorded against South Africa.
Jason Holder finished last for a best score of 20, giving Ngidi the valuable fifth wicket.
“We’ve all decided on a particular plan of attack,” Ngidi said of the disciplined off-strain line of all the fast bowlers who brought in a rich reward via sure hands in the drawstring.
“It’s really satisfying to get another five wicket transport because I’ve come close a few times since that first ‘five’, so it’s a good reward for all the hard work.”
Everything seemed very different, however, when captain Kraigg Brathwaite and his opening partner Shai Hope successfully negotiated the first 45 minutes of the test. But the introduction of Nortje brought almost immediate rewards by removing Hope to end a 24-hour opening partnership.
He then toppled Brathwaite in his opener, the phlegmatic right-hander, who opted to strike first in winning the toss, paying the ultimate price for an error in judgment when he chose not to offer shooting an angling against him.
Rabada had worked impressively on the other end to no avail until he got the deserved wicket award from Nkrumah Bonner. Hit flush with the helmet as he was late on a first hook ball to Nortje, he could do nothing against a perfectly pitched delivery from Rabada who took the advantage over Kock’s wicket keeper.
Bonner was subsequently diagnosed with a concussion and will no longer play a role in the game. His place in the West Indies eleven was taken by opening batsman Kieran Powell.
De Kock, leader of South Africa in their previous four tests, had previously chosen not to put the knee or raise the right fist, unlike his teammates on the pitch before the start of the game as the South Africans joined the West Indies team in recognizing the global Black Lives Matter movement and their concerns about racism and other forms of discrimination.
Nortje returned for a second spell just before lunch and sent off an unstable Kyle Mayers without much difficulty, then sparked the final surrender early in the afternoon with Jermaine Blackwood’s wicket.
This left Ngidi feasting on the rest of the stick and he didn’t waste the opportunity, reaping the rewards of a tight and disciplined line as he quickly took out Roston Chase, Joshua da Silva and Roach before adding Holder to complete the sleeves.
This is the first cricket test meeting between the two teams in the West Indies since 2010 and the first time since their historic single meeting in 1992 in Barbados that the Caribbean side is ranked higher than the Proteas before a series.
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