South Africa’s hopes of securing their three-game series with West Indies were dashed on day five of the second Test with yet more heavy rainfall in Port Elizabeth ensuring the match ended in a draw.
The Proteas had bulldozed their way through the Windies’ middle and lower order on Monday, to leave their opponents 275-9 in their first innings and give themselves a faint chance of victory.
But rain – a constant menace at St George’s Park over recent days – struck again overnight, drenching the playing surface and forcing umpires Billy Bowden and Paul Reiffel to call off the match at 11am UK time before a ball could be bowled.
South Africa won their opener with West Indies by an innings and 220 runs but now must wait until the third Test begins in Cape Town on Friday to try and wrap up a 10th Test series win in 12.
Port Elizabeth’s inclement weather allowed for just 201 of the scheduled 450 overs to be bowled in the second Test, with just six overs possible on day two as well as the zero on day five.
However, there was still time for four batsmen to score hundreds, with Dean Elgar (121) and Faf du Plessis (103) reaching that milestone for the hosts and Kraigg Brathwaite (106) and Marlon Samuels (101) following suit for the tourists.
Dale Steyn lit up St George’s Park either side of the lunch interval on day three, plundering 58 off 28 balls, including six fours and five sixes, as he posted the joint fourth fastest Test fifty in history and propelled South Africa to a score of 417-8 declared.
But the 31-year-old played second fiddle with the ball during West Indies’ knock, going wicketless while the height and bounce of Morne Morkel (4-69) and the spin of Imran Tahir (3-108) ripped through Denesh Ramdin’s visitors.
West Indies lost five wickets for 15 runs during a crazy end to day four but will take comfort from both the resolve they showed beforehand and the growth of Brathwaite, who has now scored three Test tons in 2014 and accrued an average of 77.88.
South Africa, meanwhile, handed a Test debut to Temba Bavuma in Port Elizabeth, making the right-hander the first black African batsman to play for The Proteas, plus AB de Villiers figured in his 97th straight Test from debut, overhauling the record of former Australia wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist (96).
South Africa captain Hashim Amla:
“Losing so much time in the game is disappointing, but that's the way it goes. The wicket was good to bat on and with the time we lost, when we were batting we tried to make a game of it and to get 400 on the board was a good effort. We were hoping to get the last wicket quickly and then set them a target with 50 or 60 overs to go. However, if our bowlers had to bowl all afternoon, there might have been some tired bodies with only two days before the next game. So now we will have some fresh bodies for Newlands."
West Indies captain Denesh Ramdin:
“Marlon got a brilliant hundred and young Kraigg as well, but we weren't able to carry on from that start and our batting faltered. Hopefully those two guys can kick on and guys like Shiv (Chanderpaul) and myself can back them up. We also bowled in the right areas and created some chances, but in the fielding department we need to do some work as we didn't execute well enough. Hopefully we can do something good in the next Test.”
Watch the third and final Test between South Africa and West Indies, from 8.30am, Friday, Sky Sports 2.