CAPE TOWN, South Africa (CMC):West Indies touched down in Cape Town yesterday, pondering the balance of their side ahead of tomorrow’s start of the final Test against South Africa at Newlands.
They trail the series 1-0 after a heavy innings and 220-run defeat at Centurion and a rain-affected draw in the second contest at Port Elizabeth which finished Tuesday.
West Indies entered the opening Test with four specialist bowlers, but resorted to five in the second Test, handing left-arm seamer Kenroy Peters a debut and also calling up speedsters Shannon Gabriel and Jason Holder.
Coach Stuart Williams told reporters, however, that no decision had been made about if the five specialist bowlers would be retained.
“That again is a work in progress. It is something we have to think about,” Williams said.
“We’re missing a couple of our senior players in terms of Chris Gayle and Darren Bravo so we’re still tinkering a little bit (with the line-up). It might very well be six batters again or it may be the same combination.
“We have some young players here and it is a great opportunity for them and the best opportunity you can give them is against the number one team in the world. It’s about giving guys an opportunity so we’ll see how it goes.”
West Indies put up an improved showing in Port Elizabeth, coming on the heels of their disastrous performance in Centurion.
Twenty-two-year-old opener Kraigg Brathwaite (106) and Marlon Samuels (101) picked up hundreds to help West Indies make a strong reply initially to South Africa’s 417 for eight declared.
The visitors slumped at the end of the fourth day, losing seven wickets for 44 runs to be 275 for nine when rain ended play prematurely. The final day was abandoned due to wet conditions at St George’s Park.
Williams, also a former Test player, praised his players’ resolve, noting while Brathwaite and Samuels came good, the bowlers also put in a tidy shift.
“The way our bowlers bowled, I think we were more consistent,” Williams said.
“Fast bowler Shannon Gabriel with his pace; Peters, a debutant in the latter stage of his career but he put his hands up and Jerome Taylor our number one bowler coming into his own a little bit, so we have some positives to take away.”
West Indies will train on New Year’s Day as they put the finishing touches on their preparations.
Meanwhile, South Africa have added uncapped off-spinner Simon Harmer to the Test squad and now have the option of playing two spinners, with leg-spinner Imran Tahir already in the unit.