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First Test heading for a draw as South Africa batsmen dig in

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Mar 13 (AFP) - South African opening batsman Herschelle Gibbs made a half-century as the first Test against the West Indies headed towards a draw at the Bourda ground Tuesday.

South Africa were 100 for one at tea after being set 306 to win off 76 overs, a challenge which was unlikely to be accepted on a slow pitch.

Gibbs made an aggressive start, however, surviving a dropped catch as South Africa scored 25 off the first five overs.

Gibbs, on two, edged Mervyn Dillon at shoulder height just to the right of West Indian captain Carl Hooper at second slip.

Hooper got both hands to the ball but could not hold it and the ball flew to the boundary.

Gibbs and Gary Kirsten put on 66 for the first wicket before Kirsten was caught at short leg off legspinner Dinanath Ramnarine for 24. Gibbs went on to reach his fifty off 106 balls with seven fours. He was 59 not out at tea.

Earlier, Ramnaresh Sarwan fell nine runs short of a maiden Test century when he was run out shortly before the West Indian declaration.

Sarwan, 20, made the highest score by a West Indian in a Test against South Africa in reaching 91 before he was out as the batsmen sought to force the pace.

Sarwan fell victim to agile fielding by Gibbs at short fine leg. Sarwan had started for a run but was sent back by partner Ridley Jacobs.

Sarwan, one of three batsmen aged 21 or younger who made half-centuries for the West Indies during the Test, batted for 211 minutes, faced 181 balls and hit nine fours.

No West Indian has scored a century in seven Tests against South Africa, while seven hundreds have been made by South Africans.

Nixon McLean was sent in to bat but when he was dismissed lbw first ball by left-arm spinner Nicky Boje, Hooper signalled the declaration, leaving Jacobs unbeaten on a hard-hit 18 off 15 balls.

Hooper was the other batsman out during the morning. After scoring 35 he top-edged a cut against Boje and was caught by Daryll Cullinan running around to a deep gully position. Boje finished with three for 93.

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