TELFORD VICE, Cape Town
BUMBLING batting on a pulseless pitch condemned SA to defeat by four wickets in the opening match of the triseries in Providence, Guyana, which ended in Saturday’s wee hours (SA time).
That and the rampant return of West Indies’ Sunil Narine from a seven-month exile from the international arena because of an illegal bowling action.
Narine said afterwards he had changed his action by “70 to 80%” but that it still didn’t feel entirely comfortable. He should get used to the new mechanics – the off-spinner took 6/27, the best figures by a West Indian spinner against any opponents in a one-day international, and the best by a West Indian bowler of any stripe in an ODI against SA.
But he had a little help from people who weren’t his friends, at least not on the day/night. SA’s top five – Quinton de Kock, Hashim Amla, Rilee Rossouw, AB de Villiers and JP Duminy – all grafted hard on the terminally slow surface to reach the 20s, but only Rossouw forged significantly forward to grind out 61. Then the bottom fell out of the rest of the order with not a double-figure score among them.
SA crashed to 188 all out in 46.5 overs, only the 64th time in their 553 ODIs that they have been dismissed for fewer than 200.
The Windies were home with 11 balls to spare, thanks largely to Kieron Pollard – who last played in maroon in November – and his run-a-ball 67 not out.
It doesn’t get any easier for SA from here. On Tuesday they play Australia, the World Cup champions and the No. 1 team in the format.