Zimbabwe v South Africa, only Test, Harare, 2nd day

Du Plessis fifty marks slow South Africa progress

The Report by Alagappan Muthu

August 10, 2014

Comments: 73 | Text size: A | A

South Africa 201 for 4 (Du Plessis 69*, Elgar 61) trail Zimbabwe 256 (Taylor 93, Steyn 5-46, Piedt 4-90) by 55 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details


Faf du Plessis forces one past forward short leg, Zimbabwe v South Africa, only Test, Harare, 2nd day, August 10, 2014
Faf du Plessis battled fading fitness to hold South Africa up © AFP
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Chatara reprimanded

  • Zimbabwe seamer Tendai Chatara has been reprimanded for showing dissent towards the umpire while batting on the first day of the one-off Test against South Africa in Harare. The incident happened in the 83rd over when Chatara was adjudged caught behind off Dale Steyn. The ball swung away from Chatara as he looked to defend but when he was given out, he shook his head and pointed to his leg as he walked back. Replays suggested that the ball may have only clipped the thigh pad. He pleaded guilty to the Level 1 offence of the ICC Code of Conduct, as sanctioned by the match referee Roshan Mahanama and hence, there was no need for a formal hearing.

Much like the hosts, South Africa clung to caution as their default approach. The spinners found the pitch responsive and the seamers were largely disciplined and the safety-first approach was forced on them through the day despite half-centuries from opener Dean Elgar and Faf du Plessis.

Zimbabwe had been scrappy throughout the Test. John Nyumbu, on debut, was generous with his flight, Tinashe Panyangara's lines and lengths were impeccable as figures of 16-7-18-0 suggest and Tendai Chatara offered stiff competition with 15-9-17-1 and constantly tempted the batsmen outside the off stump. The day petered down to a game of 'who would blink first' and when Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers fell within 11 runs of each other, Zimbabwe had reason to celebrate. Nyumbu was well aware as he did a jig on the field.

Even the two half-centurions faced stern examinations. Elgar faced 48 balls from Panyangara for only seven runs. Donald Tiripano jagged a fuller delivery back but not quite enough to rattle off stump as the batsman left. Elgar's nerves were apparent when he flashed at the next ball which was angled across him. A thick edge flew over the yawning gap at third slip. However, he was allowed enough releases. His patience and temperament are suited for the long innings but Elgar fished at a delivery that didn't have as much width as he thought and keeper Richmond Mutumbami dived to his left to reward Tiripano with a maiden Test wicket.

Faf du Plessis, at No. 3, had to brace against the turning ball and his own fitness, to remain unbeaten. His hamstring needed attention, he needed pills many times, he stagnated for 30 balls on 48 before reaching a sixth Test fifty but his resolve never wavered.

Du Plessis might have been run-out with only six balls faced had short leg found the target. He found comfort soon enough and South Africa enjoyed a brief spurt of runs with four fours in seven balls. But Elgar's wicket in the 48th over made du Plessis throw run-making out the window.

Amla and de Villiers - the only member of the side to have faced Zimbabwe before - were comparatively lax. Chatara got the South Africa captain driving to cover and Nyumbu's delight was unrestrained when he had de Villiers caught at short midwicket. The two biggest threats gone for single-figures during a 15-over spell that fetched only 20 runs. South Africa could have been jolted further when Quinton de Kock edged a cut to slip but Brendan Taylor could not snap it up, in the penultimate over of the day.

The Zimbabwe bowlers asked questions, but only few of them were tricky. The seamers' threat perhaps might have increased had Panyangara, Tiripano or Chatara summoned some inswing. But the outside-off ploy did keep a lid on the scoring. Part-time left-arm spinner Sean Williams occasionally made the ball grip and turn but lacked control, gifting too much flight or forgetting to do so entirely. But South Africa were content to accumulate.

If the scoring rate did not concern the visitors, Alviro Petersen's form would. The opener has averaged an underwhelming 27.40 since January 2013 and South Africa have had only two century stands in the last 12 months and none since Graeme Smith's retirement.

Petersen, having gotten over early nerves, had reverse swept Nyumbu's second ball and launched the offspinner over long-on, but when searching for a sweep he offered a thin edge to Mutumbami, who parried the ball up and dove full-length to his right to hand Nyumbu his first Test wicket minutes before lunch. In his last 23 Tests, Petersen has 15 scores below 30 and this time he was out after barely tipping over.

Tiripano and Nyumbu had been useful with the bat as well, lasting 10 overs since last evening until Dale Steyn sawed their union to end Zimbabwe's innings at 256 and go past Dennis Lillee with his 24th five-wicket haul.

Alagappan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by London_Meistry on (August 11, 2014, 10:28 GMT)

If this Test match was staged in SA at either the Wanderers or Supersport Park, I am pretty sure that the score board would be different. There was gonna be bounce and carry, flat and offering even contest between bat and ball. But that's the whole point, using the home conditions to suite your style of play or your strategy. Zim has done well in that but im afraid they have come up against the best adaptors in World Test Cricket, they will come up 2nd!!!

Posted by TommytuckerSaffa on (August 11, 2014, 9:07 GMT)

Been watching for the last 7 overs now and already this pitch is acting up. About 6 deliveries have kept lower than Trevor Chappels under-arm delivery in the Benson & Hedges Cup final. SA do not want to be batting last on this wicket, thats for sure!!

Posted by shane-oh on (August 11, 2014, 9:02 GMT)

@xtrafalgarx - but they are the number 1 side.

Posted by Greatest_Game on (August 11, 2014, 9:01 GMT)

@ Jamie Moneghan writes "SA are just small fish in the big pond as what have you ever won? I still smirk over the 1999 World Cup semi final do you?"

We don't smirk, which is defined as to "smile in an irritatingly smug, conceited, or silly way." We smile in fond memory.

We smile about winning the greatest ODI game, chasing down the 1st 400 plus score of 434 - a record Aus held for 3 hours. Then we took it away, scoring 438. In the ODI with the highest match aggregate, 872 runs, we left Aus gasping in disbelief at the highest run chase in ODI history. Now THAT really IS something to smile about!

We smile about chasing down 414, losing only 4 wickets in the 2nd highest Test run chase. It could have been the highest if Aus managed 5 more runs in their 2nd innings of 319, but they couldn't. The highest chase of 418 was also conceded by Aus.

We smile when the little fish take down big whales!! We smile in good spirit, for good, sporting reasons!

Posted by Kingman75 on (August 11, 2014, 8:44 GMT)

The genuine greatest sides of the past were either undefeated for a long period of times (West Indies for 15 years) in all conditions home and away or had remarkable win to non win ratios (1948 invincibles, Australia in the 1990s until 2006). South Africa had the potential to be one of the greatest sides of all time, but lost recently and their win to non win ratio is pretty bad. They remain a good side, but there have been plenty of good teams in the past.

Posted by TommytuckerSaffa on (August 11, 2014, 8:32 GMT)

Having watched the game ball by ball, I have to say Zim are playing really well - bowling very accurately. They are using home conditions to their best advantage. I think Zim steps up their game when playing against SA, its like big brother vs little brother. Similarities to NZ vs Aus, Kiwis definitely up their game when playing Ozzy.

Posted by   on (August 11, 2014, 7:53 GMT)

@Steven. The reason there is people on here from other countries is because this is a cricket forum on a cricket website, SA fans are always on Australia's pages commenting particularly during and after the recent Ashes as I can name quite a few of you on here! Along with of plenty on Indians , English etc. So just get on with it as it's just some fun banter between fans @Greatest_Game enjoy your posts and Tommytuckersaffa you too.

Posted by   on (August 11, 2014, 7:40 GMT)

After reading most of the comments its like the fans want to get the edge on the rankings by writing drivel. This wicket is very slow, but SA are batting themselves into a position that can potentially be a winning one. No use you blast away and end up loosing the game. To be fair aus and SA are the best two sides on fast pitches, but when playing on slow and low wickets SA are ahead of Australia. SA won a fair number of test matches in the sub continent. Never have they lost 3-0 or 4-0. Sa adapts to foreign conditions better than all the teams in the world which is also the reason for their consistency. How fast did SA bat in Australia in the last test when smith, Amla and AB took the game away from Australia after being put under the pump in the previous match. I think SA plays the match situation better than the others.

Posted by   on (August 11, 2014, 7:29 GMT)

SA is the best most talented test team at the moment and have been for a long while now. There is no bias, just as AUS was the best back in 90s it is all based on results.Deep down everyone knows this and that's why non SA/ZIM fans are here commenting. ZIM has prepared a pitch and are employing tactics that they believe gives them the best chance to win. This is what home teams do and have done for the past eight years when SA have not lost a series. Here's the logic I hear, SA is not a great team, just a team that gets great results.lol

Posted by   on (August 11, 2014, 6:53 GMT)

To all those rattling on about the scoring rate, are you watching the game? Or are you relying on cricinfo stats?

Two factors - This pitch is low, slow and crumbling. To compare it to a slower Cape Town pitch is just dumb. - You cant compare Taylors scoring rate because SA bowlers were not trying to contain/ They were trying to get wickets - Zimbabwe are bowling 3 medium paces and 2 spinners just outside off stump (about 25cm outside) to an off side field - These 2 factors together mean you cant score fast without giving up your wicket.

Assess the position. The pitch will get worse. If SA can get 100 ahead by say tea then Zimbabwe will have to bat very well to set a low target. Reverse it. If SA dont have a real lead then Zimbabwe can bat aggressively because on Day 5 the pitch will be even worse.

I cannot believe the dumb comaprisons people are making.

Posted by dunger.bob on (August 11, 2014, 6:44 GMT)

@ Sicho. lol, fair enough. I actually didn't see any of it so probably shouldn't have commented the way I did. Just couldn't help myself though, it was way too juicy to leave on the bush.

@ Duncan Willis: You shame us all. .. Actually the problem, for me at least, is that I don't know enough about the Zim. players to make any sort of informed comment. Still, I agree with you that Zim. has done pretty well so far. I was expected them to give our 47 all out a good shake but they did much better than that. It's way more interesting than i thought it would be. Undoubtedly SA will pull away at some point but Zimbabwe are definitely still in touch art this point.

Posted by rickyvoncanterbury on (August 11, 2014, 5:27 GMT)

@ SICHO is predicting what certain batsman will do in the future against Ajmal the same as commenting without watching ?

Posted by SICHO on (August 11, 2014, 5:06 GMT)

Seems to me not many people where actually WATCHING the match, just a glare at the scorecard and they are all over the place with some silly comments. Zimbabwe actually came out with a very interesting (not appealing) tactic. Bore the hell out of the batsmen, I think only about 15-20% of the balls bowled by the seamers were hitting the stumps, the rest were very wide outside offstump that's batsmen could leave all day, which they did until frustration crept in. Elgar, AB and Hash all got out in the same fashion because there was no intention of getting them out, unless they chased wide ones in order to score runs, which they did and were out. To all my Aussie friends, lets all wait and see. I'm keen to see whether the 'slog your way out of trouble' approach will work against Ajmal running at you all day at the UAE.

Posted by SICHO on (August 11, 2014, 4:49 GMT)

Can someone explain to me why people are discussing Aus and SA but not SA and ZIMBABWE? I must say, it's very 'touching' to see so many Aussie fans here. We didn't know that you guys 'care' this much. Again, on behalf of all the SA fans, I just want to say we really appreciate your support, lol it means a lot.

Posted by   on (August 11, 2014, 3:29 GMT)

Lol @ dungerbob. It was day two of a five day match. Fairly sure time isn't a huge concern when you've essentially ended the opposition first innings in a day.

Posted by paapam on (August 11, 2014, 3:12 GMT)

Saw a master(who else but Steyn) bowlng at the peak of his powers. Sadly only on the hghlights. It was a sight for the Gods. Who is the greatest fast bowler of all time? Let the debate will rage on! On current form it is difficult to believe that one better than Steyn existed.

Posted by dunger.bob on (August 11, 2014, 1:38 GMT)

Seems to me that the Zimbabwe bowling should be given a lot more credit than it's getting. Meanwhile, same old same old from South Africa. .. First sign of a threat, shut up shop and play for a draw.

Posted by wapuser on (August 10, 2014, 23:37 GMT)

@James Monaghan and @BillyCc. Australia made it to No 1 on the first of May. This was not due to winning the series over SA, but because SA had a number of ratings points expire on that date. They were penalised effectively for not having a lot of test cricket scheduled over the last few years. Australia has regrettably underperformed in the last few years and I'm not seeing the players coming through the system that will replace the likes of McGrath, Hayden, Pointing & the Waugh twins. Warne is simply irreplaceable, so I'm not listing him there. I was hopeful of Warner, perhaps might surprise yet; the bowlers break down too often and thank heavens for Brad Hardin. I don't know much about the pipeline in SA cricket, but it seems to be healthy, given they're feeding their own team and England.

Posted by Greatest_Game on (August 10, 2014, 23:36 GMT)

@ Jamie Moneghan. I forgot to add, we REALLY smile at 47 all out! The entire cricket world - except of course the happy go lucky Aussies - were not just smiling, they were rolling on the floor laughing about that. It is a good feeling to make the world smile!

Posted by MAHafeez on (August 10, 2014, 23:33 GMT)

The sooner SA give rest to Philander, Morkel the better. Kyle Abbott, M.de lange should replace them. Peidt should be permanent replacement for Taher. They should find place for Rossou and Buvana and rest Duminy and Peterson too.

Posted by   on (August 10, 2014, 23:29 GMT)

Can't everybody stick to this match. I'm an Australian but we should be discussing Zimbabwe vs South Africa. I think this day showed great heart by the Zimbabweans, they haven't been blown away and are still in this game. It shows that they are deserving of their full membership status.

Posted by MeijiMura on (August 10, 2014, 22:33 GMT)

For all the people on here complaining about the slow run rate from the South Africans you need to realise two things. First of all it's Test Cricket not One Day Cricket. Secondly history shows that it becomes harder and harder to score quickly as Tests progress in Harare. As I stated before play started on Day 2 Zimbabwe did well to score as many runs as they did, especially so when you consider the woeful umpiring that cost them four wickets and reduced what would have been a score of 400+ to what ended up being 256. The Zimbabweans also did well to take four wickets against a strong South African batting line-up, but they will have come to regret not taking du Plessis when he was on 1. The early, pre-lunch stage of his innings was bizarre and when he charged so far down the pitch to play a defensive prod he should have been run out. If the short-leg fieldsman had shown more poise and thrown the ball in the air to the keeper and the keeper stayed behind the stumps Faf was gone.

Posted by brenno23 on (August 10, 2014, 22:10 GMT)

Not sure I'd be getting to excited about SA A @TommytuckerSaffa, they got smoked by Aus A and India A in the one dayers. Just sayin'.

I'd like to see the Proteas play slightly more aggressively in general, but that's not to say that they haven't earnt their number one spot or don't deserve to be there. Their record speaks for itself and love them or hate them you have to admit they've been a very, very strong side for a number of years now.

Posted by ZainE111 on (August 10, 2014, 21:55 GMT)

Guys - can we all just please calm down. Everybody is proud of the achievements made by their own country. There's really no need to diminish what SA has done over the last five years or so in test cricket. Have we won every test we played in? No. Have we won every series? No. Have we dominated the cricketing world? No. Over recent history, have we been the most consistently performing team? Yes.

Have I taken anything away from Australia's achievements in what I said? No. Australia has performed superbly ever since the Ashes. Particularly Johnson and Warner.

It is disappointing that people try to downplay SA's rise to the top of the rankings - they're a talented bunch of players who have worked hard to achieve what they did

Posted by BellCurve on (August 10, 2014, 21:37 GMT)

@ Jamie Monegham - Since 1963, SA has maintained the best Win-Loss ratio of all Test teams. That is a fact. Winning is the objective, and SA has been the best at winning Test matches for more than 50 years. Laugh all you like, we are No1, and that is a fact.

Posted by klsau on (August 10, 2014, 21:22 GMT)

@Jamie Moneghan Now your arguments are getting really weak and identical to many teenagers who just want one-up the person they are arguing by any means necessary..seriously 1999 w-cup semi-final?

Posted by   on (August 10, 2014, 21:05 GMT)

it always amazes me when i see australians commenting on SA games. I take that back, its actually sad. Aussies still hanging onto their glory days. Knowing their strenghts and playing to them has always been SA's game plan. SA dont play cricket the Australian way and never will and whats more, there is nothing wrong about it. So if you dont enjoy them batting slow in a TEST match, simple...dont watch it.

As for being number 1, if Aussies are that good why arent you number 1 now? Are you waiting to buy that, along with the ICC?

Posted by   on (August 10, 2014, 20:57 GMT)

@Jamie. Are you for real? Puerile would be one way to describe it. Either way, Sa gets lots of criticism but guess what, they win. They beat Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka, something that even the mighty Aussies of yesteryear (yes there it is yesteryear) could not do. Okay so they have beaten SA at home but then again, SA beat them at home, what does one make of that? Anyway, I am enjoying the no1 ranking which belongs to SA and once did to Aus.(excpet for a brief little blip, just as SA once took the no1 from Aus for a few months).

Enough of this silly posturing. Australia's real challemge will come in the sub continent. The one game they lost in SA was on a slower pitch. I will be watching to see how Mitch gets on there. Unfortunately Pakistan are not a team to be reckoned with anymore.

Posted by   on (August 10, 2014, 20:43 GMT)

Why debate the rankings with someone who has no clue about how they work.

Posted by   on (August 10, 2014, 20:30 GMT)

I think South Africa are too boring. Their tactic is to bore the opposition to death. I think it's bad for the game

Posted by   on (August 10, 2014, 20:10 GMT)

@Tommytuckersaffa. Yeah we lost in India and England and we beat you guys and bam we are number 1 again , as how amazing is that? Surely that has to get up your nose ha ha. And it will keep happening too as SA are just small fish in the big pond as what have you ever won? I still smirk over the 1999 World Cup semi final do you?

Posted by Kingman75 on (August 10, 2014, 20:05 GMT)

@londonmeisty, no need to scratch the rankings system. It already gave the number one spot to Australia! Will happen soon again when we win in Pakistan.

Posted by   on (August 10, 2014, 20:05 GMT)

@Billycc. Couldn't have out it better myself mate! Can't be easy for SA fans forever living in Australia's shadow as they have never gotten over their famous 99 semi final choking ha ha, also they can't beat Australia at home either as beating Australia only twice in 22 years is pretty embarrassing as even India have a better record against us than SA do. Oh and in your famous "unbeaten in 8 years well Aussies have beaten you 3 times including a 3-0 whitewash in SA, so there goes your 1 series lost theory as your making stats up. And your playing Zimbabwe who are MINNOWS and even they scored faster on the same PITCH , it's laughable the excuses your coming up with. Face it the cricket powers want the big 3 at the top and not bore to death SA.

Posted by rickyvoncanterbury on (August 10, 2014, 20:00 GMT)

It is tough a the top for a saffer when they were the rugby champions the world still thought the All blacks were the best.

Posted by   on (August 10, 2014, 19:58 GMT)

guys don't forget the same team Zimbabwe has defeated Pakistan ny 24 runs in test match so they cannot be underestimated sa has to play there natural game and allow bastesman to play freely as bit of practice match

Posted by   on (August 10, 2014, 19:57 GMT)

In test SA are a team that never gives up any team when its the 5th day and they have to bowl us off they have nightmares ...oh its that faf ..ab...the mountain of hash...the blocking machine aka jp and just like that attacks are nullified.....and give us an opportunity the blocking AB becomes a six an over plus couple of boundries Ab aussies u saw that PE and Perth....India jozi and durbz...well we play the situation.....rather than just give up

Posted by MeTalHeD69 on (August 10, 2014, 19:57 GMT)

@BillyCC A "poor brand of test cricket" wouldn't get anyone near the number one spot. It is very difficult to play poorly and get into the top 3. By your definition, because Australia have been ranked second for so long, they've been playing an even poorer brand of test cricket than SA. South Africa play a conservative brand of test cricket, but their players actually have to perform for them to win (or draw). This is the reason why they have the top ranked all rounder, bowler and top ranked batsmen (Hashim Amla and AB De Villiers) in the world. And for the rest questioning Australia's rise, keep in mind they did beat the number 1 test team in their own backyard. That would have earned them some points, following the Ashes win and recent results count the most. Whether it overshadows their previous heavy defeats is debatable. But what Australia need is to maintain their performance. I don't know how long they can, though, considering how many of them are practically ready to retire...

Posted by London_Meistry on (August 10, 2014, 19:36 GMT)

Ok i have a suggestion that will make all critics happy. SEeing that SA will never be considered a true number 1 by many, lets scratch the ranking system and give it to AUS for they have the "killer instinct", forget the fact that SA havent lost a series in almost a decade to date. Nothing SA does will ever make people happy. They have beaten Aus twice down under and Eng but still their succesful methods have even now been questioned.

Posted by MeTalHeD69 on (August 10, 2014, 19:31 GMT)

@ BCG Australia have always loved South African pitches, just as SA loves Australian pitches. Fort Newlands becomes Fort Australia when they tour SA. What else would you like me to say, though? That SA should be scoring at 6 runs an over JUST because it's Zimbabwe? Zimbabwe only made it to 256 scoring at the rate they did, so your comparison doesn't work. SA is in a far better position on a slow pitch. I think people were expecting SA to completely destroy Zimbabwe just by showing up. That's underestimating the Zimbabwean team's determination - nevermind their bowlers have been patient and the spinners have been turning the ball. The SA bowlers said that the pitch pretty much absorbs all the energy of each delivery, which would have made Steyn, Morkel and Philander's jobs way tougher. The pitch is dead and expecting SA to have been 300/1 after day one is expecting a bit much. SA's batsmen hardly score quickly on slow pitches. They did something similar in Sri Lanka and still won.

Posted by TommytuckerSaffa on (August 10, 2014, 18:56 GMT)

@Jamie Moneghan I think you are too over confident and your disrespect for Asian teams is unfair. You think Australia will brush aside Pakistan in the UAE? What was the result when Australia were last toured India in the subcontinent, was it 4-0??

I find it disheartening that so called australian cricket fans criticise a teams batting on only DAY 2 of a Test match without having watched the game live. Batting on a pitch which was clearly designed to nullify Steyn and which is practically dead. SA will bat tomorrow hopefully post a large lead, then bowl out Zim in 2 days and then win - like we have been winning overseas for the last 8 YEARS.

One more thing, a just looked at the SA A vs Australia A scorecard. Cupboard looks pretty bare boys...

Posted by   on (August 10, 2014, 18:41 GMT)

@nixnixon. We arn't worried about Pakistan as we all know that all we need to do is win in SA again and the top cricket chiefs will push us to number 1 again ha ha. Always enjoy winning in SA as Australia make some habit of it hey?

Posted by BillyCC on (August 10, 2014, 18:30 GMT)

@NixNixon, you must be kidding. The reason why South Africa got dumped from the number one ranking was because they did not win a series in the subcontinent for 7 years (until a few weeks ago), they drew many series at home against lower ranked teams over a period of three years and they kept racking up 1-nil or 2-1 or series victories instead of 3-nil, 2-nil etc. The rankings system is not a fool, please consider the context before posting. If South Africa had truly been a dominant force, they would have not given up the number one spot so easily after a series loss to Australia. The system correctly spotted that South Africa have drawn too many times and had tight winning margins; it correctly penalised them for playing a poor brand of test cricket.

Posted by NixNixon on (August 10, 2014, 18:09 GMT)

I have said this before and im gonna say it again. Aus got the number 1 ranking after winnig two series, after a long period where they struggled. Meanwhile sa have lost 1 series in like 7 years. Good luck against pakistan your gonna need it.

Posted by ZkAneela on (August 10, 2014, 18:03 GMT)

@Jamie Moneghan..Sorry mate but you should not put so much proud on this current Aussie side.The time when Mcgrath,Warne,gilchrist,ponting,lee used to conquer the oppositions has gone long ago and the current side is no way near that.Only relying on Mitch and Clarke.My point is that even if Aus got the No.1(which is quite impossible considering PAK to beat in UAE), they will not be able to retain it for longer.

Posted by   on (August 10, 2014, 16:58 GMT)

@Tommytuckersaffa. If your happy with SA being number 1 playing this brand of cricket then good for you but all Australia need to do is beat Pakistan and we are back at the top! Now it must hurt knowing that we only had to beat you in your own backyard ( yet again) and we rocketed back to the top of the rankings ha ha. And why are you going back 5 years regarding Australia's scores as I thought you worked in the present and not in the past?

Posted by B.C.G on (August 10, 2014, 16:45 GMT)

@MeTalHeD69-So how did Australia score so fast on a "dead" pitch then at CT?Brendan Taylor with due respect to his ability;played quite comfortable at a strike rate of nearly 60 yesterday!!!!And he faced Steyn,Morne,Vern.........We faced a bunch of guys who haven't played tests in a year(2 of them on debut).Can't believe anyone can defend this.

Posted by klsau on (August 10, 2014, 16:43 GMT)

What is this talk of 'lack of killer instinct' going around..Obviously SA miss the giant presence of Graeme Smith at the top but they've been playing sensible cricket which has given them a lot of success in the past.Devilliers,Amla,Quinton are all very positive players who sometimes have to adapt to the situation.Just look at how everyone was laughing at the English team when they began losing wickets to compulsive hooking and just recently India folded meekly when they needed to hold on just for 1 day with bad weather forecast.Look at what happened to Pakistan against SL.It takes a lot of determination to grind down when the situation asks for it.Too early to speak about Aussie progress yet with only 2 good series.They were very mediocre before that although they can continue their good streak at the moment.

Posted by Kingman75 on (August 10, 2014, 16:36 GMT)

Can everyone please stop talking about trying to justify why South Africa lack the killer instinct, and why they can't act like a champion no. 1 side!!! The fact is, they are not a number one side. They have the greatest fast bowler in this era, two of the greatest batsmen, but they are weak mentally. Australia destroyed them last series and are the true number one. A champion side knows how to win in all conditions without being afraid to lose. Now we are not saying they should take unreasonable risks, but at least show some gut and venture. Conclusion: South Africa are not a champion side. And to be fair, they were only number one for a couple of years before Australia got the ranking back. They have it back now but only for a month at the moment.

Posted by   on (August 10, 2014, 16:25 GMT)

Y everyone are speaking about SA run rate after all its second day of the test. Rather being aggresive you get to all out 250,it is better that you end the day on 204/4. SA needs FAF to continue at 3. If SA continued to play aggressive just because its zimbawe ,what happened to pakistan when they played to zim will happen to SA Also. Let SA Bat slow and score 350. No issues regarding run rate

Posted by xtrafalgarx on (August 10, 2014, 16:21 GMT)

@Tommytuckersaffa: Our batting isn't anywhere near as strong as I would like it to be. I would like to have the 2012/13 SA batting line up for sure. man for man, our batters aren't yet up to scratch, however I like the way AUS plays as a team. They combine as well as any other Australian side i have ever seen in my life time. When someone needs to stand up, they do, whether it's a bowler, batter, keeper - they have managed to scrap together good enough scores for the attack.

So while not the best batters, the way they play - with a goal in mind and in an uncompromising manner puts them where they are today. I think we will be no.1 again in a year at most, if not a few months depending on how PAK goes.

Posted by ZkAneela on (August 10, 2014, 16:02 GMT)

Change the position for Faf every now and then according to the situation of the match..Play him as an opener in the 2nd innings if SA need to save a test match....

Posted by thirdmanboundary on (August 10, 2014, 15:59 GMT)

Agree with all comments above Hash returning to 3 and AB at 4. Too slow--and less intimidating--at the top otherwise. Disagree re. SA not deserving to be No. 1 because they lack requisite killer instinct. To be number 1 you have to love to win and hate to lose. Some teams, e.g. India at the moment, have the former quality but lack the latter: no Plan B to dig in and grit it out when the odds are against you. In ODIs, SA sometimes folds, but very seldom in tests. Flamboyance is wonderful, but you can't be flamboyant 100% of the time without losing where you could otherwise have salvaged a draw.

Posted by TommytuckerSaffa on (August 10, 2014, 15:56 GMT)

@xtrafalgarx Your team is a 250 all out team when the going gets tough. Well all know that, because the record books over the last 5 years both home and away reflect that. We are number one, as painful as it is, please deal with it.

Posted by MeTalHeD69 on (August 10, 2014, 15:45 GMT)

Gosh there are some fickle fans here. SA wins their first ODI AND test series in Sri Lanka but they're batting slower here than usual, and they are suddenly not a dominant team any more. I agree they're not in a hurry, but SA have always dominated by dictating the pace. They're not in a terrible position either. People were expecting them to completely destroy Zimbabwe, but the pitch is dead. Not many teams can score quickly on a dead pitch and these days SA seems to be playing on more dead pitches. Even when India toured SA, the pitches were uncharacteristically slow, presumably to give the Indians an advantage (conspiracy theorists may love that one). If you want to score runs on a dead pitch, you have to bat when the conditions are right and/or be prepared to grind out an innings. This is what test cricket is about. For a fast paced game, watch limited overs cricket instead.

Posted by ZkAneela on (August 10, 2014, 15:43 GMT)

@ ZainE111.First of all am huge fan of SA..Your point about playing slowly make sense but its not the way of playing test cricket anymore.As a No.1 ranked they should play like champions and there were no demons in the pitch nor their bowlers were wold class..I think Hashim Amla should bat at no.3 as he play positively.

Posted by Proteas1992 on (August 10, 2014, 15:41 GMT)

Quinton de Kock has all the qualities to become a great w/k batsmen like Gilchrist, Dhoni and Sangakarra. Already averaging 50+ in odi cricket with 5 centries!!

Posted by xtrafalgarx on (August 10, 2014, 15:36 GMT)

Now this is exactly why I don't think this South African team is a true No.1 side. They just don't have the requisite killer instinct. They can't brutalise a team into submission, they sandpaper them down, little by little. For me, a safety first approach shows a certain amount of disbelief in one's own ability. SA are not a team who are hungry for greatness, even though they have the talent to do so.

They could have held the record of the highest score chased down, but settled for a draw. If making history isn't motivation enough, nothing ever will be. They will be a good team for a few years, but will be forgotten with time because they didn't create a legacy. A real shame, I don't get why you wouldn't want to be remembered.

Posted by B.C.G on (August 10, 2014, 15:25 GMT)

@riskrao-Also remember this pitch,the SSC on days 2,3 & Cape Town(vs Australia) were flat as runways.By not scoring Harris just plugged away without any risk of conceding runs.Herath,Perera & Zimb's bowlers today did the same.Don't go out smashing boundaries but atleast rotate the strike plz.

Posted by ZkAneela on (August 10, 2014, 15:23 GMT)

As a huge fan of SA i m very much disappointed by their batting..Its not the way a No.1 ranked team play..Faf is always playing as if he is saving a test for SA..Playing like this put a huge question mark over their dominance in test cricket..Hugely disappointed..

Posted by ZainE111 on (August 10, 2014, 15:16 GMT)

Lots of commentary about SA's scoring rate. Yes, we scored more slowly than Zimbabwe did. But we also lost five less wickets than they did! I'd say that counts for something.

The bowlers put SA in a good position - all the batsmen have to do is not squander the lead. The longer we keep them fielding out in the sun, the easier it'll be to bowl them out next innings.

I thought Faf showed good discipline in leaving anything outside off - forcing the bowlers to bowl straighter.

Also worth mentioning that the pitch is quite lifeless - so the ball doesn't come on to the bat easily. It's difficult to take wickets (unless you're a spinner) and difficult to score runs on wickets like this. SL prepared a similar wicket in the SSC.

SA's main strength is always going to be its pace bowling so it makes sense that opposition teams will prepare wickets that try to neutralise fast bowlers .

Posted by Greatest_Game on (August 10, 2014, 15:13 GMT)

@ ZCFOutkast. Alviro does not bat - he gets out. Why get rid of de Kock who keeps and bats. Alviro has been given a very very long rope. He has done nothing with it but hang himself. He does not get out to good bowling - he gets out because of his own bad play.

Forget your pipe dreams. QdK is here to stay. It is reality - accept it and move on. Enjoy the game.

Posted by Greatest_Game on (August 10, 2014, 15:09 GMT)

Hopefuly this marks the end of Alviro, I actually like his attacking play, but staying in or converting a start seems to be a challenge he can only overcome every 10 or so matches. He is playing to his ever shrinking average, now at 35.6. His 32 today is right on target again. It is a simple reality that SA cannot be a consistent no. 1 team without a successful opening pair. At this point Faf might as well open, as he is doing the job often enough.

Posted by   on (August 10, 2014, 15:08 GMT)

hashim back @3 and Ab @4....faf at 5.deck .dum....i really think the basic test squad will work this expirement against real opposition will be shurtered

Posted by ZCFOutkast on (August 10, 2014, 15:07 GMT)

@thirdmanboundary "why try to reinvent him in an unnatural position in the middle order"? I keep pointing out that the same was done for AB&Rudolph while there were reserve options breaking the door down too.

Posted by   on (August 10, 2014, 15:04 GMT)

sometimes positive cricket is required hey.....faf needs to play somewhere except 3/4 because he is always driving our run rate into a slump he is a good batsman but at times when bowlers are tired he doesnt take the opportunity to counter I know he is not Hashim or Ab but he is very defensive and gives jp the nod to play like wise .

Posted by riskrao on (August 10, 2014, 14:46 GMT)

Completely agree with B.C.G's comment. SA are scoring .3 runs less than Zim's rate. Ridiculous! Faf just knows one thing - Block Block Block Block Block & Block! 36 is his S/R Sigh! and Alviro has played his last Test for SA.

Posted by thirdmanboundary on (August 10, 2014, 14:43 GMT)

@ZCFOutkast Definitely the end of Alviro. He has had a hopeless run. When he has failed chronically in his natural position as an opener why try to reinvent him in an unnatural position in the middle order? Especially when SA has a wealth of middle order talent knocking on the door: Rossouw, Bavuma and Van Zyl are all in sublime form.

Posted by B.C.G on (August 10, 2014, 13:56 GMT)

As soon as a wicket falls,this team shuts shop.If the opposition scores 400+ in the 1st innings,Saf plays for the draw.They did this vs Australia(& lost),then Lanka at the SSC(just survived).Whats wrong with them?Where's the famous counterattacks from ABD,Amla,JP?Just see how SLanka fought back after conceding 450+ in the 1st innings.I ve been a big fan(still am) of this team but watching them is really tough most of the time these days.FAF in particular just freezes.

Posted by rickyvoncanterbury on (August 10, 2014, 13:33 GMT)

you would have to say whatever happens from here on Zimbabwe are showing great fight and character @nixnixon who are you talking to ?

Posted by EnglishCricket on (August 10, 2014, 13:32 GMT)

Dale Steyn has achieved one of the rarest feats in test Cricket. A 5 wicket haul against every test playing nation. What a fast bowler! one of the all time greats!!

Posted by ZCFOutkast on (August 10, 2014, 13:07 GMT)

It's not the end of Alviro. QdK out. AB keep. Alviro bats at six.

Posted by RMahbub on (August 10, 2014, 10:52 GMT)

This has to be the end of Alviro. Better take Stiaan for the upcoming series

Posted by NixNixon on (August 10, 2014, 10:24 GMT)

Yea aus have earned the no1 spot after winning 2 series in a row. Meanwhile sa have lost 1 series in 8 years. Btw sa have no1 ranking back

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South Africa won by 6 wickets (with 55 balls remaining)
Zimbabwe v South Africa at Harare - Sep 4, 2014
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