Kagiso Rabada finally enjoyed his day in the sun as he spearheaded South Africa’s efforts to wrap up the first Test against the West Indies on the third day at St Lucia on Saturday, taking five for 34 as the Proteas won by an innings and 63 runs.
Rabada bowled superbly without much luck in the first innings, Lungi Ngidi and Anrich Nortje taking the honours as the West Indies were bundled out for just 97, their lowest ever score against South Africa.
But in the second innings the 26-year-old gained reward for his skill, fire and accuracy, as he claimed his first five-wicket haul since taking 11 wickets in the epic win over Australia in Port Elizabeth in March 2018.
Rabada began what became the final day with figures of two for 18 in 10 overs, with the West Indies on 82 for four and still 143 behind. And he made the first breakthrough with a clever piece of cricket as a surprise full ball saw Jermain Blackwood driving straight to a well-placed short extra cover, Rassie van der Dusen taking a good low catch. That ended a partnership of 46 with Roston Chase.
He then returned shortly before the scheduled lunch break to dismiss Rahkeem Cornwall, also caught on the drive, for a duck and then, with the break delayed due to eight wickets being down, he bowled the stubborn Joshua de Silva (9), who shouldered arms to an inswinger and lost his off stump.
Left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj, who bowled just four overs in the first innings, chipped in with two wickets, bowling both Jason Holder (4) and Chase for a determined 62.
West Indies batting
The hosts sit with a massive problem when it comes to their batting because Chase was their only batsman to score more than 20 in the match. Holder top-scored in the dismal first-innings with 20.
Nortje claimed three wickets, including the last to fall – Jayden Seales caught by the safe hands of Wiaan Mulder in the slips – to finish with seven in the match and he was very much the enforcer in a South African attack that looked most accomplished and not out of place with some of the best bowling line-ups in the world.
This is only the second time South Africa have beaten the West Indies by an innings in the Caribbean, the previous occasion coming in 2005 when they beat them by an innings and 86 runs in Bridgetown, the capital city of Barbados. The Proteas have beaten the West Indies by an innings on three occasions at home.