CAPE TOWN (Reuters) – That West Indies go into the final test against South Africa with an opportunity to draw the three-match series is probably more than they could have hoped for after a crushing defeat in the first game in Pretoria.
But as rain washed away any hope of a result in the second test in Port Elizabeth, there is still much to play for going into the series finale at Newlands in Cape Town on Friday.
It is a favoured venue for the Proteas as no side other than Australia has won there since New Zealand 31 tests ago in 1962, and the number one ranked home side will be heavy favourites again.
South Africa have freshened things up with the addition to their squad of uncapped off-spin bowler Simon Harmer, who was left in tears in the middle of a supermarket having received the call to join the squad in Cape Town.
His inclusion is the result of another poor showing from leg-spinner Imran Tahir, who went for 92 off his first 21 overs in Port Elizabeth before collecting three for 16 in his next five.
If he plays, Harmer would be the fourth frontline spinner to feature for the side in the past 12 months along with Tahir, Robin Peterson and Dane Piedt – to go also with the part-time bowling of JP Duminy and Dean Elgar.
Captain Hashim Amla is confident of a series win for his new-look team.
“It feels like we are moving in the right direction, we have a lot of youngsters in the side,” Amla told reporters.
“During a transition period you are going to go through ups and downs. Fortunately we have been going through more ups than downs, so it is to be patient with the guys who are here, who have been identified as the future of South African cricket.”
West Indies are unlikely to change much having come out of the Port Elizabeth test buoyed by an improved performance with bat and ball from the defeat in the first test in Pretoria.