The two tests that started today had similar weather conditions leading up to the day. Both grounds were subjected to some rain which makes the decision after winning the toss slightly more challenging. W.G. Grace had some good advice: ‘When you win the toss – bat. If you are in doubt, think about it, then bat. If you have very big doubts, consult a colleague – then bat.’ This advice was taken by Ponting who indicated it might be a tricky start but still worth the risk. Smith on the other hand believed the pitch would be troublesome.
After the first day, the West Indians are clearly in the driving seats. A score of 281/4 at the end of the day on a pitch that was supposed to have some juice in it has surpassed everyone’s expectations. This position looks a lot better than it really is. Rain ensured that only 84 overs were bowled, which means only 4 overs have gone with the new ball, which has already claimed Samuels wicket. Steyn, Ntini and Nel may have been innocuous on the first day, however they will be looking to snap up some early wickets in the morning, which could lead to a complete collapse of the Windies Line-up who possess a very long tail.
If the West Indies remain unscathed after the first 15 overs there is no reason why they cant score 450 plus on the docile pitch. If this happens they will secure themselves a draw at the very least.
The West Indies certainly won the first day however it was not emphatic enough for them to feel comfortably on top. In short South Africa have it all to do in the morning with a very average attack apart from Dale Steyn. It should be a very interesting days play, lets hope the rain stays away.