The return of fiery fast bowler Shannon Gabriel to the West Indies squad suggests the home side’s response to their thrashing in the first Test at St Lucia will be less of a dignified one and more ferocious in nature when the second Test begins at the same venue on Friday, and Proteas captain Dean Elgar said he is expecting nothing less.
South Africa’s only selection issue is whether batsman Temba Bavuma has recovered from his hip problem, in which case he will come in for Kyle Verreynne.
While their dismal batting was the West Indies’ biggest problem in the series opener, and they have recalled the experienced Darren Bravo to try help, their bowling attack can certainly do with the venom of Gabriel, who took 13 wickets at Gros Islet against Sri Lanka in June 2018, the best ever figures at the ground.
“I know how a team tends to bounce back at home and we definitely expect that from the West Indies,” Elgar said on Thursday.
“We’re definitely not taking anything for granted and the West Indies will be coming back with a plan. We have one win in the bag so far, but we can’t stop now. We want another win and to make it 2-0 would be great.”
South Africa have themselves always relied on their pace bowlers to spearhead their efforts and, with tropical showers around the island of St Lucia this week, Elgar believes the Proteas attack could once again be their trump card.
“The bowlers led the pack in the first Test – the words clinical and ruthless spring to mind – and the pitch looks similar to that one,” the skipper said.
“There’s also been a bit of rain around, so maybe the wicket will be a bit softer and it seems to have the same grass cover. That means in the third and fourth innings there could be indentations and when our big fast bowlers hit those, that’s when the ball reacts from an up-and-down point of view.”