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South Africa's pace bowlers have edge over West Indies batsmen ahead of 1st test

South Africa's pace bowlers have edge over West Indies batsmen ahead of 1st test

Spearheaded by Dale Steyn, South Africa's fast bowlers pose a formidable threat to the West Indies in the first of three tests, starting Wednesday.
After two good series against Pakistan and New Zealand, Steyn has risen in the International Cricket Council rankings to No. 3, one place behind teammate Makhaya Ntini.
Steyn will relish the opportunity of bowling at the vulnerable-looking West Indies at St. George's Park after his previous experience on the same ground. West Indies won the one-off Twenty20 international on Dec. 16 by five wickets _ with South Africa 12-6 at one stage _ but Steyn took 4-9 in three overs.
It was the second-best bowling performance in Twenty20 internationals, behind New Zealander Mark Gillespie's 4-7 against Kenya last year.
All of Steyn's victims were clean bowled, beaten by pace and swing. In a test match where Steyn can bowl with less worry about conceding runs, he could be even more dangerous.
The West Indies batting may lack tour captain Chris Gayle, who will make a late decision after a lingering hamstring injury from the tour of Zimbabwe,
If Gayle does not play, Shivnarine Chanderpaul's tough resistance is likely to be the main concern for the South African attack. After Brian Lara's international retirement, and Ramnaresh Sarwan's injury, Chanderpaul may run out of partners if it comes down to a battle for survival.
West Indies last week lost a three-day tour match against South Africa 'A' by 10 wickets.
South Africa will look to Jacques Kallis to continue his impressive form with the bat. After five centuries in his last four tests, Kallis is just a single point behind Australia's Ricky Ponting in the ICC rankings.
Kallis will be supported by Hashim Amla and Ashwell Prince, both capable of playing a long innings that can set up a winning team total.
At the top of the order, South Africa captain Graeme Smith needs to show he has recovered from a virus which laid him low after the Pakistan tour in October. Smith used his recovery time to work on technical difficulties which have damaged his batting confidence.
For the West Indies, Jerome Taylor, Daren Powell and Fidel Edwards provide a three-pronged pace attack which could finally mature on this tour into a threat to any batting lineup _ on any surface.
West Indies selectors could be tempted to use the legspin of Rawl Lewis against a South African batting lineup which has never been entirely comfortable against spin.
The St. George's Park wicket has traditionally been spin-friendly but, with plenty of rain in the area over the last two months, pace may be the key to winning the first test.
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South Africa squad: Graeme Smith (captain), Ashwell Prince, Hashim Amla, Mark Boucher, A.B. de Villiers, Herschelle Gibbs, Paul Harris, Jacques Kallis, Andre Nel, Makhaya Ntini, Shaun Pollock, Dale Steyn.
West Indies squad: Chris Gayle (captain), Dwayne Bravo, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Pedro Collins, Fidel Edwards, Darren Ganga, Rawl Lewis, Runako Morton, Brenton Parchment, Daren Powell, Dinesh Ramdin, Darren Sammy, Marlon Samuels, Devon Smith, Jerome Taylor.