South African spinner Keshav Maharaj on Monday bagged a hat-trick against West Indies to hand a magnificent 158-run win to his team in the second Test in Saint Lucia.
With this remarkable feat, Maharaj became only the second South African bowler, and the first Proteas cricketer in more than 60 years, to take a hat-trick in Test cricket.
Maharaj turned the game in South Africa's favour in the 37th over as he removed Kieron Powell (51), who was caught by Anrich Nortje at deep midwicket. Former captain and all-rounder Jason Holder (0) was Maharaj's next victim who prodded to Keegan Petersen at forward short leg. The very next ball, Joshua Da Silva (0) tickled down the leg side only to get caught by Wiaan Mulder and allow Maharaj to script history.
The only previous South African to take a hat trick in tests was Geoff Griffin against England at Lord's in 1960.
Maharaj returned with the figures of 5 for 36 while Kagiso Rabada picked up three wickets to bowl out West Indies for 165 before tea on the penultimate day of the final Test, helping the Proteas clinch the Test series 2-0.
"Powell was looking to come at me and I just thought about putting the ball in the right area and it found Anrich on the boundary," Maharaj told reporters.
"The second one to Jason, I was trying to bowl a straight delivery and luckily it got an inside edge. The hat-trick ball I had so many things going through my head as to where to put the ball. In the end I just bowled it normally and Joshua followed it down leg and full credit to Wiaan for a great catch.
"I didn't know what to do (to celebrate), I thought about doing a slide but ended up stopping dead in my tracks. There was too much excitement and adrenalin in me," he added.
Earlier on Sunday, a remarkable 70-run stand between Rassie van der Dussen and Rabada for the eighth wicket put South Africa in the driving seat. Van der Dussen returned unbeaten for 75 off 142 balls – his sixth Test fifty – after the batting unit collapsed. Rabada's 40 off 48, his career-best, came at a strike rate of 83.33 that alleviated the pressure from Van der Dussen and did well to see off the worst of the West Indian attack.
Together, they moved South Africa to a more satisfactory 174 all out, setting the hosts a daunting target of 324 to win. In reply, Maharaj hurried the host's demise in St. Lucia as they were all out for 165 before tea on the fourth day.