Kemar Roach has sustained no major damage to his right ankle and is hopeful of bowling again in the first Test against South Africa.* He will not take the field before lunch on the second day though, which would mean he is unlikely to bowl at all during the day because of the amount of time spent off the field.
Roach had been off the field for 75 minutes on the first day after leaving midway through the third session. He heard his ankle pop with a ball to go in his 16th over and immediately asked for medical attention. He left the field with assistance and was taken for an MRI scan which revealed no ligament damage.
Although West Indies would like to see him play a further part in the first Test, with two more matches to come and minimal time in-between, media manager Philip Spooner confirmed there was “no rush” to get Roach back on SuperSport Park.
One person who is hopeful Roach will be able to take the field again is Sheldon Cottrell, who is playing in just his second Test after debuting more than a year ago in India. “I am very anxious to have him back. I wouldn’t mind it he is there in the morning,” Cottrell said. “He has so much experience and because I am inexperienced, he gives me pointers.”
Roach did not open the bowling, because West Indies preferred to go with the left-arm option of Cottrell, but made an impact soon after he was brought on. In his third over, Roach made the first breakthrough to give West Indies their only period of control on the day. Three wickets fell without conceding a run in 15 balls, one to Cottrell, who admitted things did not go according to plan as closely as West Indies would have liked.
“My game plan was bowl a good-enough length to disturb the batsmen with the inswinger, because it has been said that South Africa is a bit iffy when coming out against a left arm pace bowler,” he said. “It was moving quite a bit. I didn’t have the control that I really wanted. There was a lot of moisture in the wicket. We were struggling to find lengths and lines.”
Although Cottrell found movement and troubled the batsmen with it, he was inconsistent in his lengths. So was Jerome Taylor, who Cottrell said was a “wonderful bowler, who could come right at any minute,” which left West Indies with only Roach to do damage. He should have had a third wicket when a delivery in the first over after lunch shaved Hashim Amla’s off stump and shook the bail but did not dislodge it. “We saw the funny side of it. We were like ‘Oh damn.’ But that disappeared very quickly,” Cottrell said.
That half-chance was the last hope West Indies had of justifying their captain’s decision to bowl in helpful conditions. Their lack of discipline meant that even when they threatened, it was not for long enough periods to concern everyone in South Africa’s line-up. The top three were rattled but AB de Villiers and Amla were not. They drained the West Indian attack with a dominant showing, which overpowered a tiring opposition pack.
Cottrell rated their performance a five out of 10, but remained hopeful they could increase that on the second day. “The guys came up with a number of plans, it just didn’t work. Our boys really worked hard today,” he said. “We are a bit down but we are not out, we are still in it.”