Sports Page — If South Africa’s Test outfit thought taking on West Indies was going to be easy, Stiaan van Zyl will tell them it might not quite so simple. He was the only member of the squad playing in Benoni, where the tourists dominated an Invitation XI with both bat and ball.
Left-arm seamer Sheldon Cottrell claimed five wickets with a display of swing that sliced through the South Africans. Cottrell’s first wicket came in the sixth over and he barely stopped plucking them all the way through to the 37th, when the last man fell shortly after the second session began. Van Zyl was not one of Cottrell’s victims, though. He was dismissed by Jason Holder, after scoring just 23. Interestingly, van Zyl batted in his regular No.3 spot, not the No.7 position he is expected to occupy during the first Test in JP Duminy’s absence or the opening position he is targeting in the long term.
The South African Invitation side’s batting line-up didn’t contain any other big names and it showed when it was their No.8 who top-scored. Aviwe Mgijima made 35 and the only other contribution of significance came from Under-19 World Cup winning wicketkeeper-batsman Clyde Fortuin, who scored 34.
In reply, the West Indian batsmen were put on the back foot by Rory Kleinveldt, who was making his comeback from a groin injury. His two early wickets got rid of Kraigg Brathwaite and Leon Johnson. But the visitors soon recovered, as Devon Smith, called up to the squad to replace Chris Gayle, and Marlon Samuels shared in an unbroken third-wicket stand of 182, which came at a rollicking 5.20 runs per over. Samuels, the dominant partner, went to stumps on an unbeaten 102-ball 103, with 76 of his runs coming in fours, while Smith was on on 83 off 144 balls, with a six and 12 fours.
Summarized scores: West Indians 217 for 2 (Samuels 103*, Devon Smith 83*) lead South African Invitation XI 125 (Cottrell 5-16, Taylor 2-12) by 92 runs