West Indies Christmas 2014 New Year 2015 tour of South Africa is into its first Test at Centurion Park with the home team batting after visiting captain Denesh Ramdin won the toss and chose to field first.
And the Caribbean side are using a frontline bowling attack of spinner Sulieman Benn and pacers Kemar roach, Jerome Taylor and Sheldon Cottrell to get wickets in what is the third meeting of the teams at the venue after a first in January 1999 and the second also in January 2005.
West Indies captained by Trinidadian Brian Lara then were beaten in both matches, losing the first by a huge 351 runs and the second by ten wickets. In both instances West Indies had won the toss and fielded first.
After ten overs South African openers Dean Elgar and Alviro Peterson had posted .52 runs with Petersin cracking six fours in his 27 not out and Elgar three boundaries in his unbeaten 24.
Raamdin started with pacers Taylor and Cottrell and has lately introduced Roach into the attack.
The toss was delayed by half an hour by morning rain and the skies remained heavy as Ramdin and Hashim Amla, in his first Test as captain on home soil, emerged for the toss.
The forecast for the next few days is not entirely promising, according to reports and it is beleieved that conditions which favour the bowlers could help the game keep moving on.
South Africa have gone for a full hand of quick bowlers, preferring Kyle Abbott ahead of left-arm spinner Robin Petersen, while Stiaan van Zyl was confirmed at No. 6 after being presented his cap by the injured JP Duminy.
West Indies, however, have kept their options open by selecting Sulieman Benn as a frontline spinner. Leon Johnson takes the No. 3 spot and Jermaine Blackwood is in at No. 6.
The West Indies XI comprise 1 Kraigg Brathwaite, 2 Devon Smith, 3 Leon Johnson, 4 Marlon Samuels, 5 Shivnarine Chanderpaul, 6 Jermaine Blackwood, 7 Denesh Ramdin (capt & wk), 8 Jerome Taylor, 9 Kemar Roach, 10 Sheldon Cottrell, 11 Sulieman Ben.
The other players not chosen are Chadwick Walton, Shannon Gabriel, Asad Fudadin and Jason Holder.
The venue was originally named Centurion Park, now called SuperSport Park, and is in easy access of Johannesburg, Midrand and Pretoria.
One of the newer stadiums and Test venues in South Africa it has been described by various International Captains as “One of the grounds with the best players’ facilities in the world”.
The stadium’s appeal is the grass embankments which make up a large part of the seating area, ideal for good family cricket watching. Beach Cabana type hospitality chalets have been erected high on the grass banks for added corporate viewing pleasure. A pavilion at the north end of the ground completes the 22,000 spectator capacity.
The outfield is level, lush and fast with a drainage system on par with any in the world.