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Zimbabwe’s spirited battle goes in vain as South Africa prevail

Dane Piedt took four wickets in each innings and now has the Best match figures by South African spinner on Test debut: 8-152 © AFP
Dane Piedt took four wickets in each innings and now has the best match figures by South African spinner on Test debut © AFP

Aug 12, 2014

Zimbabwe’s resistance finally ended as Dane Piedt and Morne Morkel took four wickets each and destroyed their second innings. The hosts were all out for 181, which meant South Africa just needed 41 runs to win, which they got in 10.4 overs losing only one wicket. If one look back in the match, in the first three days of the Test, Zimbabwe were in the game. Even the first session of fourth day went their way. But after Brendan Taylor’s boys lost the plot. Dane Piedt, who took four wickets in each innings and now has the best match figures by South African spinner on Test debut was given the man of the match award.

Earlier, Hosts had an Excellent first session of the fourth day. They lost the lone wicket of the nightwatchman Donald Tiripano, who also survived with a lot of fire from Styen and Morkel. At lunch Zimbabwe reached 80 for the loss of two wickets. At that time they were still trailing by 61 runs with eight wickets still in the bag. That match looked evenly poised, but the next session changed the whole scenario.

But at tea Zimbabwe  lost the control of the match and just manged to score score only 61 runs in the post lunch session and lost five important wickets at Harare. They were 141 for seven and just leveled the South Africa’s first innings score. South Africa was back in the game in big time. After tea wicketkeeper batsman Richmond Mutumbami (43) and John Nyumbu (13) played useful hands and saved the host’s from innings defeat.

In the first innings Zimbabwe made a competitive 256. It is mostly because of their captain Taylor’s 93 and some useful contributions from the lower order batsmen, they reached a respectable score. The last Zimbabwean wicket was taken by Dale Steyn, 24th five wicket haul for him. But Zimbabwe managed to get past 250 mark, which is a significant achievement for the hosts.

In reply South Africa failed to reach 400, as JP Duminy (55) become the fifth victim of John Nyumbu. He became only the second Zimbabwe bowler to take a five-for on debut after Andy Blignaut. Nyumbu’s final figure was 49.3 overs seven maidens 157 runs and five wickets. Good debut for the off spinner.

Zimbabwe fought hard in this match had shown the cirkcting world that they have potential. Now it is evident by their performance so far that they should be given more opportunities to play in the longer format of the game by the International Cricket Council (ICC). Zimbabwe have played only 10 Tests since their return to Test cricket in 2011, out of which they have managed to win three, which is not a bad record.

Even the young stars like John Nyumbu, Brian Vitori, and Richmond Mutumbami have impressed with their performances, and they seem to have the potential to become useful  cricketers . But they will be wasted if they don’t play much Test cricket, and more cricketers from Zimbabwe will take the Kyle Jarvis way, who shifted to England to play more competitive cricket at the highest level.

This small African nation has given the world some good cricketers like Andy Flower, Heath Streak, and Ray Price to name a few. Now it’s time for International Cricket Council (ICC) to give them more opportunities against the top cricketing nations like Australia, India, and England. But in the Future Tour Programme(FTP), there  is no Test scheduled against any of those nations, which is quite unfortunate for Zimbabwean cricket.

Catch Live Blog of the match here

Catch live cricket score and ball-by-ball commentary of the third day’s play here

(Sandipan Banerjee is a reporter at Cricket Country. Cricket has been the biggest passion for him since his childhood. So, when it came to choosing his career, he chose to turn his passion into his profession. Apart from cricket he likes mountain trekking, river rafting and photography. His twitter handle is @im_sandipan)

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