GROS ISLET (St Lucia): West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite had very few positives to draw on from a heavy innings defeat in the first Test against South Africa in St Lucia but singled out teenage fast bowler Jayden Seales for special praise.

The 19-year-old had played only one first-class match before the Test but took 3-75, with his figures slightly tarnished by a late onslaught from centurion Quinton de Kock at the Darren Sammy National Cricket Stadium..

“Seales ability to swing the ball at pace off a good length bodes well for the future,” Brathwaite said.

“Not all bowlers have that natural length and he obviously swings the ball. So I was not surprised by his performance in this game,” the captain added. “Even at practice, there are different little things that he does with the ball. He’s one for the future, big time.

“Obviously he’s young, but he was strong, his pace was up throughout and I really think he’s something special.”

West Indies performed well as a unit with the ball but were woeful with the bat as they were bowled out for 97 and 162, slumping to defeat by an innings and 63 runs.

That will weigh heavily on their minds going into the second Test, which starts on Friday at the same venue.

“We’ve got to bat better. [Roston] Chase showed fight [making 62 in the second innings], but that first innings hampered us a lot,” Brathwaite said. “We’ll take a little break and come back stronger. For me it’s about getting your mind in the right place. It’s more mental than technical.”

A delighted Dean Elgar, leading South Africa for the first time in Test cricket, pledged the visitors would not relax going into the final game.

“This was really important for us after what has happened over the last few months and how we’ve slid down the rankings table,” said Elgar. “We certainly won’t get carried away with this performance but it gives us a couple more days for rest and recuperation ahead of the second Test.”

Published in Dawn, June 14th, 2021

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