South Africa wins 3rd test by 8 wickets

January 6, 2015
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South African Dean Elgar swings at the ball as they play West Indies during the third test game in Cape Town, South Africa, Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2015. (AP Photo/Schalk van Zuydam)

CAPE TOWN, South Africa (AP) — Dean Elgar’s unbeaten half-century quashed any potential last-day intrigue as South Africa completed an eight-wicket victory over the West Indies in the third test at Newlands on Tuesday.

The host went into the final day on 9-1, needing a further 115 runs for victory, and achieved its target in an extended morning session as Elgar scored 60 not out.

Faf du Plessis was the only batsman to fall on the day as he was caught for 14 off the spin of Sulieman Benn, before captain Hashim Amla scored 38 not out to accompany Elgar to the end.

The result took South Africa to a 2-0 series win, and ensured it retained both the Sir Vivian Richards Trophy as well as its No. 1 ranking in test cricket.

As a consequence, it picked up a check of $500,000 from the ICC as it will top the rankings on April 1, when the governing body gives financial rewards to the four top-ranked sides in the world.

“It’s been great to have been No. 1 and maintain that, but since I became captain I’ve said that it’s not about being No. 1 - this team needs to find the ingredients to be a winning team for a long time to come,” Amla said.

“This year will be a really good, challenging year for us, and hopefully we can continue.”

AB de Villiers was named man of the match for his 148, which set South Africa up for a 92-run lead in the first innings, while Amla was man of the series for his 342 runs, which included a double century as South Africa won the first test by an innings and 220 runs.

“We saw how important the first-innings lead was in this game. The way that AB played with the bat was exceptional,” Amla said.

“The wicket seemed to deteriorate more than Newlands usually does, and got quite hard to bat on, so a target of 200-plus would have been quite a challenge.”

With the West Indies bowlers showing exemplary discipline at the start of the final day, the first runs did not arrive until the seventh over when Elgar pulled Jerome Taylor over midwicket for four.

That appeared to settle the nerves of the home side, and the scoreboard began to tick over more regularly, with Elgar particularly prolific with the pull shot off the seamers.

“We started off quite nicely, a couple of quick wickets could have been great, but they’re the No. 1 team and they showed how to build pressure over long periods of time, which is something we can learn from,” West Indies captain Denesh Ramdin said.

By the time Benn found the shoulder of Du Plessis’ bat to make the breakthrough, South Africa had 51 runs on the board and any thoughts of an unlikely upset had evaporated.

Elgar survived a dropped catch on 45 when he pulled fast bowler Shannon Gabriel out to deep midwicket and Kraigg Brathwaite put down a one-handed chance, and then went to his third test fifty two balls later.

Both Elgar and Amla became more adventurous once the target was within reach and began to find the boundary regularly, which allowed them to finish the game off before lunch.

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