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Cricket news - Ngidi, Nortje orchestrate dominant opening day for South Africa

Lungi Ngidi claimed his second Test fifer

Lungi Ngidi claimed his second Test fifer

It was as close to the perfect day as Dean Elgar would have imagined stepping into full time captaincy of the South Africa Test side. His opposite number Kraigg Brathwaite won the toss but saw it fit to bat first on a St Lucia surface with appreciable seam movement and bounce on offer.

The decision backfired spectacularly as the hosts were bowled out for 97 - their lowest score against the Proteas, who they were hosting after 11 years. Before the end of the day, Aiden Markram's 60 helped South Africa move into a 31-run lead even as impressive debutant Jayden Seales took three wickets to prevent the visitors from running away with the game.

Having made the decision to brave the conditions, West Indies were tormented by some exemplary seam bowling from Lungi Ngidi and Anrich Nortje, who may have taken the flight to the Caribbean expecting more of the toil they went through earlier in the year against Pakistan. Instead, in under 14 overs, Ngidi picked up his second Test match fifer - his first came on debut against India in 2018. At the other end Nortje took four wickets leaving the most accomplished of the fast bowling troika, Kagiso Rabada, to settle for a solitary wicket.

It was Nortje who tipped the first piece that created the domino effect. To their credit West Indies' openers Brathwaite and the returning Shai Hope managed to survive a nine-over burst at the start of the day from Rabada and Ngid despite being squared up as many as seven times. Eventually all it took was one ball to turn the fortunes around. Hope was turned inside out and his off-stump pegged back. If anything, Nortje's extra pace and his propensity to throw in the surprise bumper left the batsmen less sure of their approach. Nkrumah Bonner was pinged on the helmet first ball by Nortje - a blow that would concuss him and rule him out - while a tentative Brathwaite shouldered arms to a delivery that was pitched further up and jagged back in to hit the stumps.

South Africa's control in the opening session was exemplified by a Keshav Maharaj six-over spell in which he gave away just the eight runs, four of which came off a fortuituous edge past the slip. Rabada returned for another spell late in the session and finally found Bonner's edge with one of his away seamers. Bonner was followed back to the pavilion by his fellow hero from Chattogram, Kyle Mayers, who after calling for an excellent review to overturn an LBW decision, fell to an ill-judged pull shot that went only as far as mid-off thanks to a leading edge.

The lunch break couldn't help stymmie the bleeding for West Indies with Ngidi taking over from the media end and bowling with the wind behind him. It got him going and after Nortje added a fourth with the wicket of Jermaine Blackwood, Ngidi ran through the lower middle-order.

Roston Chase and Joshua da Silva were nicked off in a space of four deliveries in one over, exposing the tail. Rahkeem Cornwall tried to hit his way out of trouble and his efforts fetched him two boundaries before a thickish outside edge was pouched smartly by Markram running backwards from third slip. Kemar Roach edged one to the keeper to bring Ngidi level with Nortje at four-wickets apiece. Captain Dean Elgar then gave both his fast men a chance to get the fifer by employing them in tandem. Jason Holder threw his bat for the innings' highest score (20) before falling to Ngidi with another catch offering to the cordon.

South Africa weren't spared the tricks of the pitch when they began batting late in the second session. Elgar's joy at a productive start to captaincy was sullied somewhat by a five-ball duck when he nicked a Roach away seamer. Markram could have followed suit too but his edge flew in between 'keeper Joshua Da Silva and first slip Rahkeem Cornwall.

Seales took all of one over to prove why he was fast-tracked into the Test side by removing fellow debutant Keegan Petersen but West Indies, Roach in particular, were guilty of bowling far too full and allowing Markram and Rassie van der Dussen to drive their way out of trouble. The pair eschewed any unnecessary risk, putting away only the bad balls to push South Africa into the lead with a 79-run stand. Markram even got to this half century before the excellent Seales took him out. The Trinidadian added a third wicket when he dismissed the last of the three debutants from this Test, Kyle Verreyenne, to ensure South Africa didn't disappear into the horizon on Day 1.

Brief scores:South Africa 128/4 (Aiden Markram 60, Rassie van der Dussen 34*; Jayden Seales 3-34) lead West Indies 97 (Jason Holder 20; Lungi Ngidi 5-19, Anrich Nortje 4-35) by 31 runs.