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Elgar, De Kock puts SA at first before stumps, day 1, second Test

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Half-centuries by Dean Elgar and Quinton De Kock puts South Africa above West Indies at the end of day 1 of the second Test at Daren Sammy National Cricket Stadium on Friday.

Soon after the play started for day 1, which was delayed by two rain breaks, SA found themselves struggling on 37/3 after being asked to bat first.

The ball was moving around and even though WI pacers were inconsistent in maintaining their line and length, SA batsman still found it difficult in the middle.

Not only runs stopped coming but it looked as the wicket could fell at any time. Despite that, batsman played a key role in four of the five dismissals on day 1.

Facing the third ball of his innings, Aiden Markram went off to the outside delivery and hit Shannon Gabriel to the backward point where Roston Chase was placed and Markram lost the wicket without scoring.

Keegan Peterson who was replaced by Temba Bavuma had trouble staying in the middle and Jayden Seales got the benefit of the moment, who forced him to play a drive and got an edge of his bat straight into the hands of Jason Holder at slips.

Rassie Van Der Dussen never looked stable before Kemar Roach’s delivery came back in and hit him on his pads when he misjudged a leave. However, Elgar who remained consistent through these crucial times of the day joined with Kyle Verreyenne to give power to South Africa’s innings.

The fourth-wicket pair was uncertain of their defensive shots so they took their attacking shots into play. Their 32 runs stand was helped by Gabriel who kept bowling all over the place. 

Soon after the lunch break, he bowled two deliveries down the leg side for 5 wides (twice) and four byes. 

As done by the previous three batters, Verreyenne’s innings too came to an end due to his eagerness to play the shot when he pulled to a delivery going down the legside caught the edge of his bat on the way to the wicketkeeper, ending the fourth pair of partnership on 87.

After SA bent on their knees, Quinton De Kock arrived at the crease to join Elgar in further positioning SA from there. Elgar kept moving at the same pace while De Kock shifted his gear to play more of his natural innings.

Although the SA batsman improved their line and length at the final session, the ball stopped moving and it had not done any damage to the batsman.

Among the four pacers in their attack, the medium-pacer, Kyle Mayers proved handy among all. He managed to swing the old ball in both directions and even broke the strong defenses of Elgar in the last session, continued to ball between the gap of his bat and pad to hit the stumps. Elgar’s 17th half-century ended on 77, after a 237-ball stay.

After losing the wicket, De Kock shifted the gear backward and played sensibly in the last hour of the day when it was covered with clouds and the ball was moving a bit. He and Wiaan Mulder made sure that SA does not lose any wicket.

From Gabriel to Brathwaite, all the bowlers kept leaking runs as they could not create wicket-taking opportunities apart from the first session.

Brief Scores: South Africa 218/5 (Dean Elgar 77, Quinton de Kock 59*; Shannon Gabriel 2-47) vs West Indies.

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