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West Indies reach 147-2 at stumps in 2nd test

December 28, 2014

PORT ELIZABETH, South Africa (AP) — Kraigg Brathwaite and Marlon Samuels both hit unbeaten half-centuries as the West Indies enjoyed their most successful day of the series so far on day three of the second test against South Africa at St. George’s Park on Sunday.

Brathwaite finished unbeaten on 65 and Samuels on 60 not out as the West Indies went to stumps on a steady 147-2 after South Africa had declared its innings on 417-8.

Although South Africa had an excellent afternoon session, with Dale Steyn smashing the joint fourth fastest fifty in test history and Morne Morkel picking up two wickets in two balls, West Indies had the better of the first and third sessions.

The visitors picked up four wickets during the morning session to slow South Africa’s batsmen, and put on 88 without loss after tea.

That was in stark contrast to the first test, which South Africa dominated to win by an innings and 220 runs, and the first day of the second test, when the hosts scored 270-2.

“Once we spend time at the crease, we are a group of naturally gifted players and stroke makers, so we can get the runs required,” captain Denesh Ramdin said. “We are going in the right direction on this tour.”

With just six overs bowled on a rain-hit second day, South Africa was eager to move the game along on the third morning - particularly after a wet outfield delayed play by an hour.

However, the host found itself pegged back as wickets fell regularly, with overnight batsmen Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers dismissed in the fourth and fifth overs of the day, and debutant Temba Bavuma scoring just 10 before he was surprised by a short ball from Shannon Gabriel.

Fellow rookie Stiaan van Zyl managed a little better as he hit 29, but his aggression caught up with him when he chased a wide delivery from Kenroy Peters and edged through to Ramdin.

South Africa’s frustration at its lack of progress was quelled after the lunch break though, as Steyn hammered 45 runs in 18 balls to his his fifty in just 26 balls.

His dismissal for 58 two deliveries later prompted captain Amla to declare South Africa’s innings just six overs after the lunch interval.

Although West Indies made a bright start to its reply with openers Brathwaite and Devon Smith seeing off the new-ball pairing of Steyn and Vernon Philander and reaching 55 without loss, Morkel quickly stomped it out.

The fast bowler struck in his fourth over when Smith edged the fast bowler to first slip to depart for 22, and then Leon Johnson reached for his first delivery and edged it to third slip.

Another West Indian collapse appeared to be on the cards, but Brathwaite and Samuels weathered the storm and added 92 to the total before bad light and rain brought play to a premature close.

“It’s always going to be hard work here at St. George’s, and Brathwaite and Samuels batted smartly and got stuck in,” bowling coach Allan Donald said. “The forecast is not so great for tomorrow, which could take more time out of the game, but if we break this and we get Shivnarine Chanderpaul in, that tail is very long and we can race through them, with all due respect.”

The final two days will begin half an hour early, at 0800 GMT, to make up for time lost in the match.

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