South Africa spinner Keshav Maharaj entered history books as he scalped a brilliant hat-trick in the second Test versus West Indies at the Daren Sammy National Cricket Stadium at Gros Islet.
The 31-year old became the first spinner and only the second Protea bowler after Geoff Griffin who completed the feat against England at the Lord’s in 1960.
Maharaj took the crucial wicket of the well-set opener Kieran Powell and then broke the back of West Indies middle-order with wickets of Jason Holder and Joshua de Silva off successive deliveries.
Chasing a target of 324 on Day 4, West Indies were going steady before Maharaj was introduced in the attack. While Powell holed out to deep midwicket fielder Anrich Nortje, Holder was caught at short leg by Keegan Petersen. The final blow was delivered when Silva was caught at leg slip by Wiaan Mulder.
Earlier, West Indies were all out for a meagre 149 in reply to South Africa’s first innings score of 298. The lads from the Caribbean bounced back with the ball in the second innings and folded the Proteas for just 174 and set up a 324-run target to raise their hopes of a probable win and level the series 1-1.
Rassie van der Dussen’s unbeaten 75 and late strikes from Kagiso Rabada who struck a quick 40 in the second innings saved South Africa the blushes when it seemed difficult for them to even cross the 100-run mark.
West Indies ran into Maharaj at the moment when their chase seemed in control. The left-armer took 2/47 in the first innings.
The venue has not witnessed a successful chase by any nation since its first Test in 2003. The highest fourth-innings total registered so far is 252 by the home team in a losing cause against England in 2019.
Featured photo : Randy Brooks / AFP