Mon, Jan 07, 2008 - Page 18 News List

Smith blasts Proteas to victory

UNLUCKY BREAK While the South African skipper made hay, his West Indian counterpart looks as if he may miss the Test series decider because of injury


South African batsman AB de Villiers hits a four on Saturday during the Test match between South Africa and the West Indies in Cape Town.


South African captain Graeme Smith blasted 85 off 79 balls to take his team to a seven-wicket win on the fourth day of the second Test against the West Indies at Newlands on Saturday.

Smith's innings enabled South Africa to square the series with one match to play.

Victory with a day to spare seemed unlikely after a heroic effort by West Indian skipper Chris Gayle extended his team's innings until tea and left South Africa needing 185 to win.

But Smith and AB de Villiers got the innings off to a flying start with an opening stand of 57 in nine overs and the tempo was maintained as Hashim Amla helped Smith add 83 in 17 overs for the second wicket.

Amla and Smith were out in successive overs to leg-spinner Rawl Lewis but Jacques Kallis and Ashwell Prince saw South Africa home.

Gayle batted with a broken left thumb and shared a last wicket partnership of 70 runs with Shivnarine Chanderpaul that kept the West Indies' hopes alive before Smith's assault.

Gayle said X-rays showed a crack right around his thumb just above the joint.

"It's not looking good," he said of his prospects of playing in the deciding match in Durban, starting on Thursday.

Chanderpaul again stood firm for the tourists. He was unbeaten on 70 after batting for 299 minutes and facing 168 balls.

Gayle hit 38, with 37 of the runs coming off 29 balls in the last wicket stand before he was caught at long-on off Dale Steyn after hitting four fours and three sixes.

Despite not being able to bowl at top speed because of a hamstring strain, Steyn took four for 44 while Andre Nel took three for 62.

Gayle was struck on the thumb by a delivery from Nel four balls into the first over of the day. After lengthy treatment on the field he retired hurt without adding to his overnight score of one.

He returned to the wicket when his side were nine down and only 114 runs ahead. Batting with a runner because of a hamstring injury, he swung powerfully whenever the ball was in his range although it was obvious he was in pain.

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