South Africa v Zimbabwe

A brief history ...

Jacques Kallis appeals successfully against Hamilton Masakadza as Zimbabwe were bowled out for 54 in a little over a session in the 2004-05 1st Test © Getty Images
South Africa's inaugural Test with Zimbabwe and two one-day internationals were all played at the picturesque Harare Sports Club before good crowds - an estimated 7,000 turned up on both the Saturday and Sunday of the Test, outstripping anything achieved before in Zimbabwe, outside one-day cricket. However, the visiting team was never seriously challenged. In the Test, Donald took 11 wickets, including 8 for 71 in the second innings, as South Africa won by four wickets. The ODIs were one-sided and Zimbabwe's batsmen never threatened.
Test: Zimbabwe 0 South Africa 1
Zimbabwe 0 South Africa 2

The South African leg of home-and-away Tests, and Zimbabwe never fought back from being bowled out for 192 on the first day. South Africa took their tim in building an unsurmountable lead, and Jacques Kallis and Paul Adams shared eight wickets as they won by an innings with a day in hand.
Test: South Africa 1 Zimbabwe 0

This Test followed a fortnight after the one in Bloemfontein although the two games did not constitute a series for ICC Championship purposes. Once again Zimbabwe's batsmen let them down - in two innings they totalled 243 runs. Mark Boucher and Kallis scored hundreds for South Africa.
Test: Zimbabwe 0 South Africa 1

For the first time the two sides played in a series and Zimbabwe were again outclassed, but it would have been so much worse were it not for Andy Flower. He scored 422 runs and stood head and shoulders above his team-mates. Jacques Kallis batted for 1,028 minutes in all without being dismissed, breaking Nasser Hussain's record of 1,021. The only criticism was that he failed to accelerate at Bulawayo to press for victory. In the three ODIs, South Africa were never stretched because of some below-par batting by the Zimbabweans.
Test: Zimbabwe 0 South Africa 1 Drawn 1
ODIs: Zimbabwe 0 South Africa 3

"This was a gruesome tour," wrote Wisden, "Embarrassing all who saw it, from the middle, in the stands or on TV." Zimbabwe, returning from a one-year self-imposed international exile, were dreadfully weak. Even the return of Heath Streak and Andy Blignaut just before the Tests could not mask the feebleness of the side. The two Tests lasted less than five days in all, and the ODIs were equally pointless. On the first day of the opening Test, Zimbabwe were bowled out for 54 and South Africa closed on 340 for 3, and all that with a side that had several leading players rested. The second Test was slightly less one-sided but South Africa still won by an innings inside three days without really moving out of second gear.
Test: Zimbabwe 0 South Africa 2
ODIs: Zimbabwe 0 South Africa 3

Zimbabwe paid a flying visit to South Africa, and predictably lost all four matches they played - by increasingly wide margins too. After being befuddled by their first taste of Twenty20 cricket, the Zimbabweans regrouped creditably in the first one-day international. However, the second match was barely a contest, while the final one at a freezing Potchefstroom was a slaughter: Mark Boucher - dropped six times - flailed a century from only 44 balls as South Africa rocketed past 400. Jacques Kallis made his debut as South African captain throughout this series; Graeme Smith was recovering from ankle surgery.
ODIs: South Africa 3 Zimbabwe 0
Twenty20: South Africa 1 Zimbabwe 0

This was another short visit for the Zimbabweans, with South Africa treating the two one-day internationals as a warm-up for the more challenging England series that would follow. It looked like business as usual when South Africa eased to 295 for 5 and then reduced Zimbabwe to 48 for 5 at Benoni. But then came a fighting 188-run stand between Tatenda Taibu and Stuart Matsikenyeri - Zimbabwe's highest sixth-wicket stand and their second largest partnership in ODIs. Zimbabwe never managed to keep up with the rate but Taibu completed a memorable hundred and the visitors reached a respectable 250 for 6 in reply. South Africa took no chances in the second match at Centurion, storming to 331 for 5 on the back of a JP Duminy hundred and then scything through Zimbabwe's line-up to complete a 212-run win.
ODIs: South Africa 2 Zimbabwe 0

Martin Williamson is managing editor of Cricinfo