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Thursday, April 12, 2001

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Pollock ensures S. Africa's series win

ST. JOHN'S (ANTIGUA), APRIL 11. South Africa sealed a series victory by beating the West Indies by 82 runs on the fifth and final day of the fourth Test here on Tuesday. It gave South Africa a winning 2-0 lead in the five-match series.

South African captain Shaun Pollock made a double breakthrough and followed up with a third wicket as his side became only the second visiting team in 30 years to win a series in the West Indies.

The previous side to win in the West Indies was Australia which won a four-match series 2-1 in 1994/95. Before that the West Indies had been unbeaten at home since Australia, captained by Ian Chappell, beat it 2-0 in a five-match series in 1972/73.

Brian Lara hit a thrilling 91 as his teammates crumbled at the other end. Lara batted cautiously until Neil McGarrell was the seventh man out.

Then he went for his shots, ending up with eight fours and four sixes before being ninth man out when he skied a drive against Jacques Kallis to extra cover.

The defeat was a setback for new West Indian captain Carl Hooper, who took the decision to send South Africa in on an under- prepared pitch after gambling on picking two specialist spinners.

The pitch deteriorated markedly as the match went on and West Indies was handicapped when Mervyn Dillon, one of only two fast bowlers, was able to bowl only three balls in the second innings because of a sprained right thumb.

The South African players were joined by their reserves and team management in a huddle in the middle of the field after completing the most significant triumph since Pollock took over the captaincy from Hansie Cronje as a result of the cricket bribery scandal.

The day started reasonably for the West Indies as Lara and Ramnaresh Sarwan put on 49 for the fifth wicket, seeing their team through almost until lunch after a 40-minute rain break interruped play after a single delivery at the start of play.

But Pollock's entry into the attack proved a crucial move as he dismissed Sarwan and Ridley Jacobs within four balls.

With his 13th delivery of the day Pollock had Sarwan caught behind for 26, edging a leg-cutter. Three balls later Jacobs drove at a slower delivery and looped a simple catch to Gary Kirsten at extra cover. Pollock struck again after lunch when McGarrell was caught at silly mid-off. He finished with figures of three for 41.

Boje, who took three of the four wickets that fell on Monday, bowled unchanged from the start of play and finally claimed a wicket when Dillon was caught at slip off his glove when Boje made a ball bounce steeply.

He should have completed a five-wicket haul when Lara, on 68, swept him to deep square leg where Makhaya Ntini got into perfect position but spilled the catch.

Lara rubbed it in for Boje in the spin bowler's next over by slamming him to the legside again for a four and six.

Lara had reached his 50 off 144 balls and scored his next 41 off 55 deliveries, with Boje bearing the brunt of the punishment. Boje bowled 26 overs unchanged on Tuesday and conceded 78 runs to finish with four for 118 off 45 overs.

Finally Pollock called for the second new ball and with the second over Kallis had Lara caught. He took the final wicket in his next over when Dinanath Ramnarine fended a catch to gully.


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