There’s not an awful lot that can be said any which way about a team that, despite contesting in home conditions, succumbed to horrendous losses in successive tests, both of which were played on the sam turf, on the very same ground at the revered Darren Sammy stadium in St. Lucia. For the visitors, there was genuine pleasantness with the Caribbean sun shining bright on the outfit that truly persisted. If there was ever a time where the phrase Proteas Fire truly came to life with renewed vigor then going 2-nil up on West Indies was that pretty moment. de Kock was on fire, as was Rabada, captain Elgar making a vital seventy-something and the cream of the cake- Maharaj’s hat-trick.
Though in stark contrast, if there was ever a moment where the sun neither seemed bright, nor did the weather taste sweet, then it was the hapless run presented by the West Indies. The captain, the man supposed to lead failing to score even 50 runs from 4 innings, a batsman of the class of Hope going yet again, without a fifty (his 20th inning sans a half century), the only in-form batsman Chase missing out in the inning where it all mattered due to an injury and not to forget, experienced campaigners like Holder inflicting self-rendered blows thanks to a first-ball duck in yesterday’s painful capitulation.
For a team that had only recently returned from a rather successful campaign winning both Tests against Bangladesh on turning sub-continental turfs, the recent Test series that tested but only patience of fans not the might of the South Africans, unfurled a dour experience for home fans who’d have liked the West Indies to fight.
But when you could see a team scoring plenty of runs, in which not even a single candidate held any prior experience of playing in the Caribbean, having not visited the island nations for over a decade, with the hosts batting rather abysmally, your heart truly sank.
It was almost as if the sinking West Indians borrowed a leaf from the drowning Titanic, with the mighty Proteas being the Iceberg that sank the ship. The only thing being, what was yet more worse in West Indies’ case was that they could see a mountainous Iceberg fast approaching, one in the form of a tall fourth inning target, in front of which a potent water carrier shrunk to the size of raisins.
What hurts isn’t just the defeat or the margin of defeat. Though to some irrational optimists, the fact that the Second Test didn’t produce an innings defeat like one saw in the series-opener was a huge positive, truth is, it’s the lack of application by the Caribbean bats that contributed to a sorry state of affairs.
Holder, formerly the captain, and someone against whose name stands a dogged Test double Test century offering catching practice first up, aware clearly of the precarious situation his team was in was about as disappointing as seeing Da Silva, with a best score of 92, fiddling with a ball down the leg side to the slips was just as heartbreaking.
Going forth, as the limited-overs series is about to begin, the West Indies must delve deep to introspect about where they are going wrong, provided there’s really a desire to do so and improve. For as fans or observers one can only lament not help the team get on its feet again.
That being said, what must hurt the team, even more, is the fact that maintaining a slow over-rate in the defeat earned in the Second Test has only hurt the team even more.
Here’s what Cricket Addictor noted about the out of form team and its fine that’s bound to hurt the side:
The West Indies team was fined 60 percent of their match fees and six World Test Championship points were deducted after the side failed to complete their overs in the scheduled time in the second Test. The side was found to be three overs short at the stipulated time. To make matters worse, the Windies were beaten by South Africa 2-0 in their own backyard.