The hard work done by Kraigg Brathwaite and Marlon Samuels during their third wicket stand of 176 was quickly unraveled as the South African picked up wickets at regular intervals following a delayed start in Port Elizabeth.
Play only got under way at 1pm due to a wet outfield and there were delays as the rain continued throughout the day. But, the South African attack made the most of their opportunities on the field and by the close had restricted the visitors to 275/9.
Morne Morkel was the biggest contributor with his figures of 4/69 while leg-spinner Imran Tahir managed to pick up three wickets even though his bowling hadn’t been that inspiring throughout the day as he leaked 108 runs for his efforts.
The collapse began in the fifth over after tea as Tahir got the first of his three scalps, trapping West Indies captain Denesh Ramdin leg-before wicket and the spinner was responsible for the bizarre dismissal of Shivnarine Chanderpaul to reduce them to 261/6.
Chanderpaul’s departure was a series of unfortunate events as the ball ended up going through his legs and brushing his leg-stump after his attempt to play down on a Tahir delivery with his awkward batting style.
Their 261/6 quickly became 270/8 as Morkel picked up his fourth wicket after Jason Holder edged behind to AB de Villiers while Tahir picked up the wicket of Sulieman Benn after the lanky left-hander had adopted an attacking approach rather than weather the storm.
Debutant Kenroy Peters was then run-out for a three ball duck after Dale Steyn and De Villiers linked up and the players left the field as the heavens opened again. No further play was possible and the West Indies ended the day still trailing the Proteas’ total of 417/8 by 142 runs.
“The most important thing for us this morning was to arrive here with a lot of hunger, a lot of energy and show why we are one of the best, if not the best, bowling units in the world,” Morkel said after the close of play.
“On a stop-start day the intensity can drop quite quickly and it was important for us, every time we got back on the field, to bowl with intent,” he added of the efforts of the South African bowling attack.
The situation means that there is a chance, weather permitting, that the hosts could get a result out of the contest should they manage to bowl the West Indies out again on Tuesday and Morkel was looking forward to the challenge.
“We’ve seen in the past that things can happen very quickly. If we can start off well tomorrow, put some runs on the board, bat quite quickly and have enough overs at them it’s never nice to come out and survive 50 or 60 overs.Hopefully there’s some good weather tomorrow and it’s a cracking game,” Morkel said.