South Africa vs West Indies 1st Test: Preview and Prediction
After the successful completion of the inaugural edition of SA20, it’s time for South African fans to take off their franchise outfits and pull on the White colors. The Caribbeans have arrived on the Mzansi soil and will be summoning the Proteas across all three formats over the period of the next month.
The opening fixture of the Sir Vivian Richards Trophy between South Africa and West Indies will be commencing at SuperSport Park Centurion from this Tuesday onwards.
The visiting captain Kraigg Braithwaite will be leading the Maroon lineup with an ultimate aim to avenge the previous home defeat and end their 10-match winless run against Team SA. Meanwhile, the Proteas will be gracing the battlefield under the new leadership of Temba Bavuma who will be making his Test captaincy debut at Centurion. As a consequence of leadership restructuring by CSA, Dean Elgar has lost his captaincy after their elimination from World Test Championship.
This is also going to be the first game for the newly appointed Proteas coaching staff consisting of head coach Shukri Conrad and batting consultant Neil McKenzie. Conrad has come up with a lot of surprising decisions in the South African squad by axing the likes of Rassie van der Dussen, Lungi Ngidi, Kyle Verreynne etc. As per his comments during the press conference, we can expect the inclusion of Aiden Markram and Gerald Coetzee to make their way into the SA playing XI.
The stylish left-handed Dominican batter Alick Athanaze and the Bajan pacer Akeem Jordan have received their maiden call-up to the Windies international unit. Jordan impressed everyone with his bowling figures of 3 for 32 in 11.5 overs and is knocking on the door of the playing eleven. However, the gaffer Andrey Coley and the team management may still not make any changes to sustain further the winning momentum.
What have they done so far?
The Proteas’ last red-ball assignment dated back to December 2022 when they toured Australia and returned to their homeland after losing the three-match bilateral saga by 0-2. They somehow managed to save the final game to avoid a whitewashing defeat at the hands of Aussies after convincingly losing the first two chapters. A winless outcome in a decisive series has ruled out the Saffas from the WTC final race as they are currently placed in the fourth position with a 48.72 win percentage.
On the other hand, the Caribbean who have already been eliminated from the WTC Final race recently featured in an away red-ball saga with Zimbabwe. The opening game of the series saw a galore of 1,163 runs but couldn’t get any result while the second game was clinched by the visitors with a deficit of innings and 4 runs. Team Windies also played a practice three-day match against South Invitation XI at Willowmoore Park where they batted twice but still couldn’t outmatch the home team’s first innings total of 317.
Head to Head record
The rivalry between the two cricketing giants was kick-started in the year 1991 when the Proteas newly received Test-playing nation status. It was a one-off game staged at Bridgetown which also stands as the only bilateral triumph of the Windies over the African counterparts.
Since then the two combatants have squared off against each other in eight bilateral red-ball competitions and all of them have been conquered by the Saffas.
The World Cricket has witnessed a total of 30 encounters in the longest format of cricket between these two teams to date. South Africa has taken a dominant stand in the head-to-head record with a whopping tally of 20 victories against the Caribbeans who have managed to emerge victorious only on three occasions.
The Windies’ last red-ball win over the Proteas came under the leadership of Chris Gayle in 2007 when the likes of Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Darren Ganga used to be part of their Test unit.
The most recent chapter of this fierce rivalry was hosted by West Indies where the visitors led by Dean Elgar registered a thumping 2-0 triumph. Both fixtures were played at Darren Sammy National Cricket Stadium of Saint Lucia and the Proteas also went on to claim the T20I series.
Quinton de Kock who was adjudged the Player of the Series scored 237 from three innings while not a single Caribbean batter was able to cross the 100-run mark on home soil.
Joshua Da Silva: The 24-year-old is doing wonders with his robust batting performance ever since his breakout into international red-ball cricket. Da Silva could not get enough opportunities to showcase his batting prowess in the recently concluded Zimbabwe series. However, the charming middle-order batter emerged as the top scorer (55 & 44) in the warm-up game and also gave a glimpse of his motives for the main action.
Kagiso Rabada: The lead Proteas speedster is considered the most dangerous knight in South African conditions and will be turning up as the biggest threat for the visiting batters. He finished second in the wicket-taking charts of their Australia tour behind Aussie skipper Pat Cummins (12) with 11 wickets from 3 games. Rabada also claimed the Player of the Match honor in SA’s most recent face-off with Windies owing to his all-round heroics of 61 runs and 5 wickets.
Predicted Playing XI
South Africa: Dean Elgar, Aiden Markram, Temba Bavuma ©, Keegan Petersen, Tony de Zorzi, Heinrich Klaasen (wk), Marco Jansen, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, Gerald Coetzee
West Indies: Kraigg Brathwaite ©, Tagenarine Chanderpaul, Raymon Reifer, Jermaine Blackwood, Kyle Mayers, Roston Chase, Joshua Da Silva (wk), Jason Holder, Alzarri Joseph, Gudakesh Motie, Shannon Gabriel
South Africa is widely regarded as a firm favorite to win this forthcoming contest of Whites and kick-start their ‘Mission Cleansweep’ with a win. The visiting batters are going to have tough times while battling out the Proteas’ fast-bowling attack which is considered among the deadliest pace batteries in home conditions.
The Windies roster is high-spirited after their recent triumph over Zimbabwe and will be leaving no stone unturned to draw the same results against another African nation.