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Sunday November 28, 2021

Windies look to pounce on unsettled South Africa

By AFP
June 10, 2021

GROS-ISLET, Saint Lucia: West Indies start a two-Test contest against South Africa on Thursday (today) with the home side believing they have their best chance in 30 years of overcoming the unsettled visitors in a series at the Daren Sammy Cricket Ground in St Lucia.

Kraigg Brathwaite’s team are unbeaten in their last four Tests - a 2-0 triumph in Bangladesh and drawn matches at home to Sri Lanka.

They go into the campaign ranked just ahead of a Proteas team reeling from successive heavy defeats in two Tests in Pakistan.

They also have senior opening batsman Dean Elgar installed as Test captain following the retirement of Faf du Plessis from the traditional format.

West Indies suffered a setback leading into the opening Test when fast bowler Shannon Gabriel was ruled out through injury.

It opens the prospect of 19-year-old pacer Jayden Seales making a Test debut although his lack of experience - he has played just one first-class match - could see the selectors opting for Alzarri Joseph.

Brathwaite, Joseph and senior seamer Kemar Roach have all benefited from stints on the English county circuit following the end of the Sri Lanka series.

It remains to be seen if the West Indies captain will have Kieran Powell or Shai Hope as his partner at the top of the batting order.

Hope signalled his readiness for a return to the Test fold with a half-century followed by a hundred in the four-day intra-squad warm-up match at the Test venue.

However, Powell, who scored a second innings 95 in setting up his team’s victory in that encounter, offers the variation of a left-hander in his own quest for a Test comeback.

South Africa, who are playing their first Test series in the Caribbean since 2010, look set to give Keegan Petersen a debut in the middle-order as a straight replacement for the departed du Plessis.