West Indies saves match and possibly finds a new batting genius
Dwayne Smith, plucked from relative obscurity by West Indian selection convenor Viv Richards, hit a spectacular century on his debut as the West Indies earned a draw in the third Test against South Africa at Newlands.
Smith, six days short of his 21st birthday, slammed 15 fours and two sixes as he reached his hundred off 93 balls. He finished with 105 not out in a West Indian total of 354 for five.
"I was in a bit of pain," admitted Smith, who dislocated the little finger on his right hand while fielding in the first innings, "but pain doesn't worry me when I'm playing for the West Indies."
Thoughts that the West Indies would settle for playing out time were dispelled by Smith, who played a dazzling array of strokes. He drove, hooked and pulled his way to a half-century off 52 balls, reaching the mark with a straight six off left-arm spinner Paul Adams.
Smith dominated a stand of 72 with Wavell Hinds and was on 60 when Hinds was bowled by Shaun Pollock in the second over with the new ball.
There were still 22 overs to be negotiated but Smith continued to attack, hitting a straight four and an astonishing front-foot cover drive for six off Makhaya Ntini in the next over. He reached his century with a flurry of three fours in four balls from Andre Nel.
Richards was watching when the unheralded Smith hit nine sixes in an unbeaten 92 for Barbados against Guyana in a one-day match and decided the youngster had enough potential to play international cricket.
He got his chance to make his Test debut when Shivnarine Chanderpaul pulled out of the Newlands Test with a thigh injury.
[Edited on 6-1-2004 by Arnab]