Graeme Cremer (L) and Zimbabwe coach Heath Streak (Image courtesy: AFP)
Graeme Cremer (L) and Zimbabwe coach Heath Streak (Image courtesy: AFP)

Zimbabwe were brought in place of India to face a daunting South Africa for the inaugural four-day Test under lights on Boxing Day eve (December 26). Zimbabwe, ranked No. 10, virtually had no chance against a pace-heavy South African attack. As a result, they were mauled by an innings and 120 runs inside 5 sessions. After the defeat, coach Heath Streak gave a reality check, and suggested more aggression in limited-overs for competing in the longer format. In addition, skipper Graeme Cremer understood that the conditions in South Africa were tough from what the team is used to playing, i.e. slow tracks of Bulawayo and Harare back home.

If Zimbabwe were to play more Tests, they might have to settle for games against newcomers in Afghanistan and Ireland- Streak

“Maybe there is an argument for us to focus a lot more of our resources and time into shorter format cricket to give us ourselves more of a realistic chance of competing at a higher level rather than hanging around near the bottom of the table. I think if you get a bit of context to the Test rankings, with an incentive to get to the next level, with maybe a promotion-relegation type of thing, it s worth looking at. Obviously we would like to play against the top countries but maybe we could play them at home so we can set up the conditions to favour us,” told Streak.

‘When we saw how the ball moved around under the lights, we knew it was tough’

“We knew it was always going to be tough. When we saw how the ball moved around under the lights, we knew it was tough, especially with their attack (and) at the end of the day they were too good for us. I don t think we were overwhelmed by the atmosphere. We were surprised seeing the ball move so much, and we didn t assess the conditions”, added Cremer.

Batting first, AB de Villiers-led South Africa declared at 309 for 9. Aiden Markram adapted to the conditions well and scored a magnificent 125. He was well supported by de Villiers, Temba Bavuma and Dean Elgar. Zimbabwe, on the other hand, failed miserably against the moving ball. While they summed up their first innings for 68, their second outing was wrapped for 121. Morne Morkel and Keshav Maharaj were the top performers, claiming a five-for in the first and second innings respectively.

Zimbabwe will now travel to Bangladesh for a tri-series (also involving Sri Lanka).