Zimbabwe v South Africa, only Test, Harare, 3rd day August 11, 2014

Nyumbu's five limits deficit to 141

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Zimbabwe 256 and 28 for 1 trail South Africa 397 (Du Plessis 98, de Kock 81, Nyumbu 5-157) by 113 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

The Harare crowd had to resort to song and dance to amuse themselves for large parts of the day and was grateful to offspinner John Nyumbu when his five-wicket haul, the second by a Zimbabwean on debut, ended a decidedly slow South African innings. Faf du Plessis' marathon ended two short of a hundred and Quinton de Kock displayed mettle for his 81 as South Africa pulled into the lead, but after both batsmen were dismissed, the activity on the field paled to that off it.

The second session yielded 56 runs in 30.4 overs as Zimbabwe continued with their ploy of playing on the batsman's patience. The seamers preferred discipline over variation. There were no bouncers, perhaps they thought they didn't have enough pace. The pitch was worn enough to offer variable bounce but Brendan Taylor's host of short midwickets and short covers were kept waiting as the batsmen stuck to stonewalling.

Against Nyumbu, however, the close catchers were in play. He cajoled the rough to yield turn and bounce to threaten both edges of the bat. He lured Du Plessis into a leg-side trap, forced JP Duminy to mistime a reverse sweep to slip and bested Dale Steyn's intent to attack.

Zimbabwe had to negotiate a tricky 13 overs before stumps and Morne Morkel, who was not shy of targeting the batsman's throat, had Hamilton Masakadza fending to third slip to further South Africa's reputation as the past decade's most successful touring team.

To that effect, consolidation was paramount when the day began. Du Plessis progressed in typical fashion, waiting as long as necessary for the bad ball. He ventured outside off only when it was short and wide - Tiripano was slashed over the cordon - or when it was too full - Nyumbu was caressed through extra cover. He was South Africa's anchor at No.3 and he would not budge from that role until a little extra bounce became his undoing. He nipped down the track and tried to smother it, but the tickle reached Regis Chakabva at backward short leg to end his 356-minute stay.

De Kock's nemesis was spin, specifically his inclination to close the face and hit against the turn when Nyumbu tossed the ball up, but he was able to put the threat aside and be the instigator. He was nimble on his feet and raced down to lift Nyumbu for a six, his first boundary of the morning, to reach his fifty. A less certain inside edge to the fine-leg boundary took South Africa ahead of Zimbabwe's 256.

Spin threatened for 12 overs after lunch, but cost 41 runs. De Kock favoured the back foot and put aside the balls that misbehaved until he skewed an inside-edge to short midwicket to hand slow left-armer Sean Williams a first Test wicket. There was enough help for Taylor to persist with spin, but Zimbabwe did not like the pace of scoring.

They dragged South Africa back by employing Tinashe Panyangara, who did not concede a boundary in his 30 overs for 39 runs, and Tendai Chatara who was equally miserly with 27-12-34-1. JP Duminy, newly saddled at No. 7 and with six runs off 123 balls in his last Test, did little to put them off as South Africa scored 15 runs in the 18.4 overs leading to tea.

Steyn's two sixes broke the monotony and helped South Africa to 30 runs in five overs after the break. Duminy updated his resume with his sixth half-century and tried to push on but an ill-advised reverse sweep gave Nyumbu his fifth wicket and a slice of history.

Alagappan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • BillyCC on August 12, 2014, 20:30 GMT

    @greatest game, not disputing that South Africa have had the best results and hence have been the best side of the past three years. But the rankings tell the story of a team that haven't won enough test matches. Would we be having this conversation if South Africa had maintained their number one ranking throughout even if Australia had beaten them? I don't think so because after all, Australia have only won two series. But the magnitude of the Ashes series margins and the lack of similar clean sweeps over the period of the rankings assessment for South Africa meant that Australia took over. Also, not sure but the rankings may also include that horror stretch for South Africa from 2009 to 2011 when they lost one series, drew five and won one! And their results have been excellent since 2012 when they got the number one ranking. So not sure where the flaw is.

  • Greatest_Game on August 12, 2014, 15:22 GMT

    @ BillyCC. wrote that SA "are yet to win at India and Pakistan."

    That is incorrect. South Africa have won series in India & Pakistan.

    SA played 12 tests in India. 2 were drawn, India won 5, & SA won 5. SA do not have a losing test record in India. Only the WI have a better, & winning record, in India.

    In Pakistan SA have played 7 matches. 4 were drawn, Pak won 1, and SA won 2. SA have a winning test record in Pak. No other test team has a better record against Pak, in Pak! In the UAE, of 4 matches, 2 were drawn, Pak won 1, and SA won 1. SA do not have a losing record in test matches against Pak in the UAE.

    This business of number one & dominance is pointless, empty debate. Everyone has opinions, none are worth more than any other.The ICC rankings are flawed, & not worth much either.

    South Africa are not in the same league the great Windies & Aussie teams at their peak. But, they have been the most successful team of the last few years. That is a fact

  • rickyvoncanterbury on August 12, 2014, 10:35 GMT

    No mate not me, I have been watching 45 years of test success, but you keep enjoying your time mate.

  • NixNixon on August 12, 2014, 10:09 GMT

    @Ricky, I am talking about recently, recent results, not results from 10 years ago. That is another thing aus do, harp on test success of 10 years ago. Aus have recently had little test success, but you keep hiding behind the "we play aggressive cricket" which seems to make up for your little test success. Then pakistan can also be a number one test team because they are "unpredictable". Results count not labels. Admin please post as I am responding to someone's question.

  • Maliktabrez on August 12, 2014, 9:52 GMT

    i think ind must take lesson from zim ,they r playing against SA and take match in to 4th day..come on India do something extraordinary

  • rickyvoncanterbury on August 12, 2014, 9:31 GMT

    You must be very young to use the words Australia and lack of test success in the same sentence.

  • on August 12, 2014, 9:29 GMT

    SA need to win a world cup to be considered a champion team, infact any team. winning the odd series will not do that. In any sport you need to win a global event mainly a WC to be considered the world champs. These series come and go and the rankings change, you still dont become a world champion.

    Aus has 4 WC's WI 2 India 2 Pak and sri lanka have 1

    These teams have been the official champions at their times.

  • NixNixon on August 12, 2014, 8:54 GMT

    I personally find it funny that aus hide behind the "we play attacking cricket" excuse as it seems to be more important and justify their lack of test success.

  • on August 12, 2014, 8:31 GMT

    Look whatever all the stats say it always point to Australia and South Africa being the best teams throughout the years , and these two teams deserve a serious heavyweight 5 match test series and not just once every 5 years or so , they should play every other year home then away. Personally this would of been at its best under the Smith-Ponting captaincy day , but that's why I suggested that Aus v SA should now play for the Ponting-Smith trophy to give what is already a healthy rival ya little more spice to it , and works the same as the Ashes with a team could hold the trophy for 2 years or a decade as who knows? But it would settle the bragging rights if there was a trophy involved.

    I know Greatest_Game liked the idea and a Couple of other SA fans commented on it to. Just wish the boards would see what fans want.

  • on August 12, 2014, 7:30 GMT

    Another thing worth considering too - do the people bagging the lack of batting aggression just not notice that as have had, for years now, the most attacking bowling combination in the world?

  • BillyCC on August 12, 2014, 20:30 GMT

    @greatest game, not disputing that South Africa have had the best results and hence have been the best side of the past three years. But the rankings tell the story of a team that haven't won enough test matches. Would we be having this conversation if South Africa had maintained their number one ranking throughout even if Australia had beaten them? I don't think so because after all, Australia have only won two series. But the magnitude of the Ashes series margins and the lack of similar clean sweeps over the period of the rankings assessment for South Africa meant that Australia took over. Also, not sure but the rankings may also include that horror stretch for South Africa from 2009 to 2011 when they lost one series, drew five and won one! And their results have been excellent since 2012 when they got the number one ranking. So not sure where the flaw is.

  • Greatest_Game on August 12, 2014, 15:22 GMT

    @ BillyCC. wrote that SA "are yet to win at India and Pakistan."

    That is incorrect. South Africa have won series in India & Pakistan.

    SA played 12 tests in India. 2 were drawn, India won 5, & SA won 5. SA do not have a losing test record in India. Only the WI have a better, & winning record, in India.

    In Pakistan SA have played 7 matches. 4 were drawn, Pak won 1, and SA won 2. SA have a winning test record in Pak. No other test team has a better record against Pak, in Pak! In the UAE, of 4 matches, 2 were drawn, Pak won 1, and SA won 1. SA do not have a losing record in test matches against Pak in the UAE.

    This business of number one & dominance is pointless, empty debate. Everyone has opinions, none are worth more than any other.The ICC rankings are flawed, & not worth much either.

    South Africa are not in the same league the great Windies & Aussie teams at their peak. But, they have been the most successful team of the last few years. That is a fact

  • rickyvoncanterbury on August 12, 2014, 10:35 GMT

    No mate not me, I have been watching 45 years of test success, but you keep enjoying your time mate.

  • NixNixon on August 12, 2014, 10:09 GMT

    @Ricky, I am talking about recently, recent results, not results from 10 years ago. That is another thing aus do, harp on test success of 10 years ago. Aus have recently had little test success, but you keep hiding behind the "we play aggressive cricket" which seems to make up for your little test success. Then pakistan can also be a number one test team because they are "unpredictable". Results count not labels. Admin please post as I am responding to someone's question.

  • Maliktabrez on August 12, 2014, 9:52 GMT

    i think ind must take lesson from zim ,they r playing against SA and take match in to 4th day..come on India do something extraordinary

  • rickyvoncanterbury on August 12, 2014, 9:31 GMT

    You must be very young to use the words Australia and lack of test success in the same sentence.

  • on August 12, 2014, 9:29 GMT

    SA need to win a world cup to be considered a champion team, infact any team. winning the odd series will not do that. In any sport you need to win a global event mainly a WC to be considered the world champs. These series come and go and the rankings change, you still dont become a world champion.

    Aus has 4 WC's WI 2 India 2 Pak and sri lanka have 1

    These teams have been the official champions at their times.

  • NixNixon on August 12, 2014, 8:54 GMT

    I personally find it funny that aus hide behind the "we play attacking cricket" excuse as it seems to be more important and justify their lack of test success.

  • on August 12, 2014, 8:31 GMT

    Look whatever all the stats say it always point to Australia and South Africa being the best teams throughout the years , and these two teams deserve a serious heavyweight 5 match test series and not just once every 5 years or so , they should play every other year home then away. Personally this would of been at its best under the Smith-Ponting captaincy day , but that's why I suggested that Aus v SA should now play for the Ponting-Smith trophy to give what is already a healthy rival ya little more spice to it , and works the same as the Ashes with a team could hold the trophy for 2 years or a decade as who knows? But it would settle the bragging rights if there was a trophy involved.

    I know Greatest_Game liked the idea and a Couple of other SA fans commented on it to. Just wish the boards would see what fans want.

  • on August 12, 2014, 7:30 GMT

    Another thing worth considering too - do the people bagging the lack of batting aggression just not notice that as have had, for years now, the most attacking bowling combination in the world?

  • rickyvoncanterbury on August 12, 2014, 7:27 GMT

    reading these posts shows how emotional people can get talking about cricket it's better than playing the poms, keep up the good work people, and by the way EVERYONE is allowed an opinion because if someone does not agree THEY WILL TELL YOU IN NO UNCERTAIN TERMS.

  • on August 12, 2014, 7:00 GMT

    @billy. They have a better win/draw ratio than the West Indies of 80-95, so there's one area your theory fall over in. Secondly, they've already had 1 four year period without losing a series anywhere. At their peak, Australia never did that. Australia also only had a period of around 10 months where they could claim a last-start win against all other teams (September 2004-ashes 2005). But I guess that doesn't matter because it's Australia, right? By the way, it is hard for SA to win in Pakistan considering no tests have been played there in half a decade. They've won in the UAE, that's good enough.

  • London_Meistry on August 12, 2014, 6:59 GMT

    That's the thing, people are mistaking SA for something else they don't wanna associate with. We don't want to be the Australian team that was reigning supreme decades ago, we also don't wanna be the West Indian team that was hailed in the past years. We want to be the SA of today, the team that plays to the conditions, the team that wins and just wont lose. Critics can go on till kingdom come, we as South Africans are proud of our team, give us a belter of a pitch, I don't care who you are bowling or spinning, we will hit you to all corners of the ground, the Australians know all about it, oh yeah they know. @Greatest_Game and Cpt.Meanster, rock on brothers!

  • Kazman27 on August 12, 2014, 6:38 GMT

    I think Zimbabwe did very well to keep the SAF team to such a low score...

    SAF played below average cricket overall...DuPlessis was playing as if he was saving a test match!! Ridiculously low strike rate.

    2 bowlers of ZM having economy of 1.5 after bowling 50 overs between them that it was a disciplined bowling performance.

    Only person to defy everything was Steyn with a strike rate of 100+ and ofcourse a double figure score ;)

  • London_Meistry on August 12, 2014, 6:36 GMT

    Its funny hearing all these people saying that SA are poor cricketers. Who on earth died and made you guys judges of good and not so good cricket? Who died and allowed you to have a say in how best SA should play their cricket? You are all wrong, the minute SA try to emulate and play the Australian brand of cricket or any other country for that matter that's when they shall have lost their identity. That's when the people you are trying to imitate will in fact defeat you in all facets. SA know how to win, they play effective cricket. In soccer, if you score in the first minute and then park the bus for the rest of the match and end up winning the match the we should all respect that they won, we should accept that the opponent is inferior, we should accept that they didn't cheat their way to a win but they employed best possible tactics to win. This is sports, before we start blaming SA for their slow batting, we might as well blame Zim bowling off stump every over!!!!

  • BillyCC on August 12, 2014, 6:22 GMT

    If South Africa want to build a legacy, they need to do it by winning through domination just like Australia did for 13 years from the mid 1990s. They can't claim their undefeated tag after Australia smashed them. They can't do it by claiming number one ranking domination because they recently lost that too for a period and have only been number one for around 2 years prior, something that India also managed. They can't do it by claiming they have beaten everyone home and away because they are yet to win at India and Pakistan and can't beat Australia at home. Of course, they don't need to build a legacy and just grind out series draws and series victories with the occasional loss. That's their call, but it's a cop out.

  • Marktc on August 12, 2014, 5:45 GMT

    Greatest_Game makes some valid points. SA bat according to the pitch. If they had gone in with guns blazing and were all bowled out for 100, the the very same people accusing them of slow play, would be moaning because they were too aggressive. Some people don't want to understand. This is good experience for the SA team and it is good to see the Zim team given a fighting chance, even if the wicket is playing a major role.

  • on August 12, 2014, 4:33 GMT

    @greatest game. Sigh. I'm on your side mate. I was pointing out that SA can play in whatever gear they need to in order to succeed. My figures aren't hopelessly wrong. I mentioned them almost chasing 450 against India in SA last year or whenever it was. I mentioned the 400 chase at Perth, and I mentioned AB and Amla's assaults at Perth in 2012. 3 different matches.

  • legfinedeep on August 12, 2014, 4:24 GMT

    Maybe SA should play more exciting cricket and lose 9 wickets in a session? That is definitely exciting to watch, right? Why play sound, solid cricket on a flat dry pitch that is turning and not the SA's major strengths when they can just play loose irresponsible shots and chase everything outside off stump. Never mind if they nick it and start a procession, reading the pitch and match situation is boring, Proteas need to throw away wickets like Indians then they will be "exciting" again.

  • Greatest_Game on August 12, 2014, 4:17 GMT

    @ Samuel Debenhamwrites "Chasing 400 at Perth, ABDV and Amla hitting 180 each at a run a ball at Perth, chasing 450 (almost) at nearly 4 an over? Short memories."

    Nope - very very different pitches. Perth is a quick pitch with bounce - this is a dead, rank turner. Horses for courses, mate. SA play to conditions.

    And, your figures are hopelessly wrong. In 2008, at Perth SA chased down 414 - not "450 (almost.)". Amla scored 53 at SR 47.32. ABdV scored 106 at SR 56.98. Neither came close to 180 at a run a ball, as you claim. And, SA batted at 3.46 per over, not "nearly 4 an over," as you wrote.

    In 2012, at Perth, SA were not chasing, but in their 2nd innings they scored 569 - not "450 (almost.)" - at 5.08 per over - not "nearly 4 per over," as you seem to think! Amla scored 198 at SR 88.68. ABdV scored 169 at SR 91.84. Again, neither scored 180 at a run a ball. What match were you watching?

    I wonder how you get those figures so utterly wrong? Short memory?

  • Greatest_Game on August 12, 2014, 3:50 GMT

    @ Dhutugemunu believes that "Test Cricket involving SA are becoming more and more unattractive due to their slow batting. They are not even playing for a win during the 1st innings."

    Lots of people wrote the same thing when SA batted first at Galle. "Playing for the draw from day one" people screamed. "Negative cricket" they moaned. But when SL batted at the same rate, & when SA were a run an over faster in the second innings, & when SA WON, convincingly, those same posters never said a word.

    If SA win, are you going to make a post here and admit that you were wrong, or will you also disappear, @ Dhutugemunu. I have a feeling we won't be hearing a peep from you!

  • proteasfire on August 12, 2014, 3:43 GMT

    Too slow by Proteas. Totally unnecessary, its good to bat slowly to save games on 5th day. But to start the game in a cautious note is not a sign of world number one. Poor batting by South Africa. Zimbabwe can be proud of themselves for keeping SA's runrate under check. JP and Philander scoring 9 runs in 15 overs is the worst that can happen in this test match. SA need to be aggressive to improve their brand of cricket. Over all poor poor performance from Proteas!! #safan

  • on August 12, 2014, 3:41 GMT

    Now people are saying that they always bat that way. Always? Chasing 400 at Perth, ABDV and Amla hitting 180 each at a run a ball at Perth, chasing 450 (almost) at nearly 4 an over? Short memories.

  • Greatest_Game on August 12, 2014, 3:40 GMT

    If this was being played by Eng or Aus on the sub continent, there would be howls of outrage about the pitch being a rank turner, minefield, road, etc etc. Zim prepared a dead slow, low pitch that turned prodigiously from day one, then won the toss, & batted on it before the surface disintegrated.

    Zim scored at 2.76 per over. SA scored at 2.5 per over. In their 2nd Zim are scoring at 2.15 per over. SA's run rate after 20 overs was 2.9. But all I see are comments bout SA's "slow" batting.

    It was the same at Galle. SA batted at 2.73 per over, & were accused of "playing for the draw." Posters derided SA's "negative" approach. Go back & read the posts. When SL batted at 2.78 per over, the same posters said NOTHING! In their 2nd, SA batted at 4.09, but SL went at 3.02. None of those posters wrote "great, positive batting from SA" because SL lost & they were all hiding.

    In both matches, SA batted a fraction slower, for a lot longer, & posted a bigger total. Seems a good strategy to win!

  • Sir_Francis on August 12, 2014, 3:08 GMT

    SA seem to be showing respect to Zimbabwe. Also, Sa is a team in transition. Good to see the debutant spinner do well.

  • Sexysteven on August 12, 2014, 1:41 GMT

    Good on the zimbos for fighting hard lets hope that continues and they can set rsa a tricky total of about 150 or so I know rsa will win but hope zimbos keep fighting one thing rsa should learn by now that batting slowly can get you into trouble more often then not against abetter team there fate could of been like Pakistans the other day positive intent does get you to safety and victory more often alongs your not being reckless mind you better pitches world wide would also help low and slow pitches tend to make scoring harder and it makes for boring cricket

  • on August 12, 2014, 1:11 GMT

    Pretty funny reading the comments of all the knockers.

    Why does the number one team have to be destroying every opponent every time they play? Isn't it about winning?

    Were Australia any less of a world number one when they 'thrashed' Bangladesh by two wickets in the test before Gillespie's double century? Of course not.

  • Brownly on August 12, 2014, 0:17 GMT

    "They might also be 200 all out at 4 an over with egg on their faces."

    The trouble with this is that SA were still going at less than 2 runs an over AFTER they had a 50+ run lead on ZIM. You can justify their approach up until that point. When a team, ranked number 1 in the world, leads the match batting second against the number 9 team, you just don't expect the scorecard to read 'maiden, maiden, 1 run, maiden, 1 run, maiden'. It goes beyond "the nuances of test cricket" at that point, and is simply one team not recognising and seizing their advantage - a trend that is following this SA team. Consider their stonewalling in Galle in just the second innings of the game, Duminy's 6 of 123, the 15 runs against India that they did not try to hit.

  • indianzen on August 11, 2014, 23:37 GMT

    SA were too defensive... SA looked like lions in Lanka...

  • dunger.bob on August 11, 2014, 23:06 GMT

    Excellent work from Zim. I thought this game would be all over by lunch on day 4 but barring a monumental collapse they should be able to take it well beyond that point. If I where a Zim supporter I think I'd be chuffed with their performance so far.

    The Protea fans get a bit upset when someone criticises their team. The SA style of play might be effective and it may have been a big part of getting them to No 1, but to the neutral observer it's painful to watch. .. Amla seems to be Smith MkII. There doesn't seem to be any change in tactics or mindset in the post Smith era. Not yet anyway. .. My advice to Saffer supporters bemoaning the criticism is to get used to it because it's not going to stop while ever they continue to impersonate a glacier.

  • GrumpiusMaximus on August 11, 2014, 22:45 GMT

    I'm impressed by Zimbabwe's attitude and approach to this match. The best they can probably hope for is a draw but even a draw given their struggles over the last decade would be remarkable. There are a lot of talented cricketers in Zimbabwe that aren't given the opportunities they deserve due to a lack of a quality first-class system and the fact that playing cricket for many is simply not viable financially. A real shame - this is the country that produced Andy Flower, after all.

    Seeing Zimbabwe play competitively against this superb South African outfit - home advantage or otherwise - is heartening and demands respect.

  • __PK on August 11, 2014, 22:08 GMT

    People praise SA for their ability to bat long and force draws under pressure, but they neglect to mention that they ALWAYS bat that way. They play for a draw from Day 1 and hope the opposition get frustrated, trying to up the tempo. Seriously, no wonder noone comes to watch Test cricket in SA.

  • Kingman75 on August 11, 2014, 21:48 GMT

    I just got back from an exciting day of counting sheep. Doesn't seem like I missed much on the test match front

  • klsau on August 11, 2014, 21:29 GMT

    @JoshFromJamRock You forgot when the Saffers smashed Australia all around at Perth when SA last toured there?Right after the Adelaide game where SA successfully stonewalled for more around 5 sessions.It's about playing to the situation.The pitch was dreadful for fast scoring(if you actually watched the live video coverage) and anyone who did try to up the pace ended up being dismissed because of discipline bowling as well.The Aussies are getting too ahead of themselves with their 'bold' approach after 2 successful series.Main difference has been Mitch Johnson's amazing form along with Ryan Harris(who just came out of surgery).This has hidden their mediocre batting line-up.

  • Chris_P on August 11, 2014, 21:05 GMT

    Kudos to John Nyumbu. How about giving some credit where it's due? Boring they may be, but they are still, by rankings, the team to beat. Although from a neutral pov, it was better to watch 9 wickets falling in a session to lose a game, but that's only my pov.

  • MaraudingJ on August 11, 2014, 20:41 GMT

    All this hullabaloo about SA being a slow, boring batting outfit is ridiculous.

    In SL, they were handed slow turners. SA batsmen are not used to those conditions. The only strategy that could've possibly won them that series was to reduce risk and bat within themselves. They did it, and they won.

    Their last innings before that was a 4th innings attempt at salvaging a draw from an impossible position against Aus, and they nearly managed it, too.

    But in the past 12 months, if you don't count those innings, SA scored 3637 runs in 1136 overs at a run rate of 3.2. That includes a mammoth 450 runs at 3.3 RPO to secure a draw against India on a pitch that was good for batting.

    In Test cricket, you play the opposition in context of the pitch you're presented with. You assess your strengths and weaknesses and come up with strategies to suit all those factors. This is how you win consistently, particularly away from home.

    Let all the haters hate. I'll take the wins, thank you.

  • rickyvoncanterbury on August 11, 2014, 20:19 GMT

    Sounds to me like some want it both ways, 159 overs for 397 is either fantastic bowling to restrict the number one team or negative batting to help out some averages against a minnow, so if it was fantastic bowling I would expect SA to bowl Zim out just after lunch for about 120 odd on a wearing pitch with a new WORLD CLASS spinner.

  • CrickFan1976 on August 11, 2014, 19:42 GMT

    Whatever high praises I see below from SA fans, so far it definitely didn't look like the "No.1 ranked" test team playing the minnows in test cricket who are ranked No. 9! It was quite boring to see SA bat, to be honest!

  • on August 11, 2014, 18:49 GMT

    Just to add to the earlier comment by gimme-a-greentop, imagine if India had just batted out the 3rd day of the 4th Test? Rain on days 4 and 5 made them look like idiots. I agree, Test cricket is about the grind, not nonchalance.

  • ZainE111 on August 11, 2014, 18:44 GMT

    @Dhutugemunu - to suggest that SA are playing for a draw against Zimbabwe is, quite frankly, silly. Do you genuinely believe that SA went in to bat on the morning of Day 2 after bowling them out for 250 and said to each other "guys, we should draw this"?

    SA seem to be playing a particular brand of cricket that people have described as "negative" and "boring" and "unattractive". The reality is actually the opposite. SL and ZIM have both prepared pitches that attempt to nullify SA's pace bowlers - these pitches lack bounce and pace but they are great for spin bowlers, which is something SA lacks. SL and ZIM are well within their rights to prepare pitches that make for boring cricket - but it is wrong to blame the resulting boring cricket on SA.

    The Newlands test against Australia is a different story. There was nothing wrong with that pitch - but at tea on Day 4, SA's best hope was a draw so that's what they tried to play for - Aus simply outplayed us in that test.

  • Dhutugemunu on August 11, 2014, 17:51 GMT

    Test Cricket involving SA are becoming more and more unattractive due to their slow batting. They are not even playing for a win during the 1st innings.

  • gimme-a-greentop on August 11, 2014, 17:03 GMT

    @JoshFromJamRock...Firstly, AB and Amla didn't exactly bat very long. In theory, yes, AB and Amla should score quickly, and often do when set, but they are the main batsmen, and when they get out cheaply SA have to do some damage control. This is sensible. Secondly, to say exactly this scenario ("If it was Clarke's Aussies...") would play out is slightly absurd. They might also be 200 all out at 4 an over with egg on their faces. I understand your point about positive cricket, but Australians are very selective with their memories and examples when it comes to this subject in relation to SA. Say no more. Besides which, SA showed tremendous guts and determination to bat out those final days in Adelaide, Joburg and Sri Lanka. This is part of the 5-day game. To knock it reveals a slightly limited conception of the nuances of Test cricket. There is more to it than an obsession with style at all costs.

  • JoshFromJamRock on August 11, 2014, 16:06 GMT

    Unattractive cricket. This safety-first approach will eventually backfire on them. While SA will win as expected, they were expected to win handsomely in a dominating fashion. If it was the Clarke's Aussies, they would have declared on 450 by lunch (RunRate: 4.0) on day three with a lead of 200 and probably have Zimbabwe 150 for 5 (or worse) by stumps.

    Can't believe a team of AB, Alma, Duminy and De Kock (integral ODI players) is unable to muster a run rate of at least 3 against Zimbabwe on an eased out pitch.

  • ZainE111 on August 11, 2014, 15:50 GMT

    @ZCFOutkast I'm not just comparing to Galle - I'm saying outright that it is worse than Galle. De Kock was collecting deliveries from Steyn at his ankles; batsmen were slapping the ball only for it to roll along harmlessly until a fielder comes along to pick it up. It's a low, slow pitch.

    This should have been a longer series so that we could gauge both teams' abilities in different conditions. As it stands however, we will never know if the Proteas were, as you say, "woeful" or if they were simply adapting to the conditions. Zimbabwe has at least shown that they're not a bubble gum outfit and are worthy of a longer series.

    There are bound to be many retorts that ZIM batted faster than SA on the same pitch. Remember that SA are bowling more aggressively than ZIM was bowling. While ZIM's bowling was much more line-and-length oriented outside-off - waiting for the batsmen to make mistakes. That's why ZIM's run rate is higher than SA's.

  • on August 11, 2014, 15:29 GMT

    South Africa will grind themselves to a victory. Best of luck to them moize

  • TommytuckerSaffa on August 11, 2014, 15:13 GMT

    Wow, Dane Piedt was unlucky not to get 2 wickets before close. Turning like a top out there. Good Luck tomorrow Zim!!!

  • ZCFOutkast on August 11, 2014, 15:11 GMT

    It's wrong to compare this pitch to Galle simply because it compensates for woeful Proteas batting and somehow justifies it. It's a much better pitch with something in it for everyone. I can assure you that we will be reading and hearing a lot about how the Proteas(not the pitch) went about their batting in Harare for many years to come ... with good reason.

  • gladiator1976 on August 11, 2014, 14:28 GMT

    SA are in a good position to win this game. That is the main goal of this team. Who are we to criticize the way the most successful team in tests are playing. Its the same like when SA bowled out England for a small score and ab took his time to score big and win the game for them. Its not nice to the viewer but it is mightily effective.

  • ZainE111 on August 11, 2014, 14:06 GMT

    This pitch is low and slow and flat and just useless for a test match - it makes the Galle wicket look like the Wanderers. I shudder to think what it will be like on day 5 so let's hope it doesn't get there.

    To those of you complaining about tactics again - watch the replays of the wickets that fell to see what happens when batsmen try to go over the top on a pitch like this.

  • on August 11, 2014, 13:51 GMT

    South africa tryn to save the match

  • Proteas_Supporter on August 11, 2014, 13:46 GMT

    Ridiculous stuff from Saffers! I hope SA loses this match.

  • TommytuckerSaffa on August 11, 2014, 13:41 GMT

    Now that Vern has gone out, all of a sudden JP starts FINALLY playing some shots. Clearly the plan he is stay in until the last hour of play and then have a go at Zim with 30 min left in the day. Just wish the guys would play their natural games like Steyn and De Kock did.

  • B.C.G on August 11, 2014, 13:17 GMT

    Continue defending those pathetic tactics chaps.Oh & 2 clearly lesser batsmen in QDK & Steyn showing the BIG GUNS how to play on such "dead" pitches with Zimb. bowling 25cm or whatever outside off.

  • AhmedEsat on August 11, 2014, 13:04 GMT

    Clearly being treated as a practise session by South Africa.

  • on August 11, 2014, 13:02 GMT

    Come on SA!!! This is Zim(No.9 in the Test Rankings).... Most of the time when we play quality opposition we rise to the occasion... Then we face a seriously mediocre team and we stoop down to their level and get dictated to by bowlers that would struggle to make some of our franchise sides....

  • neo-galactico on August 11, 2014, 12:58 GMT

    Watching paint dry is just as interesting as this innings... Yawn!

  • JRR562004 on August 11, 2014, 12:48 GMT

    Yawn, Thank goodness Philander is out, he didn't want to score any runs....

  • TommytuckerSaffa on August 11, 2014, 12:45 GMT

    I am watching this live and this is lame cricket. De Kock started the morning very positively, looking to score and got to 81. Since his wicket, the batting of Duminy and Philander has been over defensive and pathetic. Clearly they are under instruction from the coach Russell Domingo to bat like blind pensioners. Vern is a naturally attacking batsman, what's going on here? Things better change after Tea.

  • CrICkeeet on August 11, 2014, 12:36 GMT

    I think people who got an Insomnia problem should watch this game. I bet it works better than sleeping pill! What south africa is doing?? 328 from 139 overs.. today they picked about 120 runs in 55 overs..just 7 runs from the last 10. sounds like they are trying to save a match nd caught in follow on...

  • Pavinasen on August 11, 2014, 10:57 GMT

    I think that SA will win this game,given a good partnership between DP & JDK

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  • Pavinasen on August 11, 2014, 10:57 GMT

    I think that SA will win this game,given a good partnership between DP & JDK

  • CrICkeeet on August 11, 2014, 12:36 GMT

    I think people who got an Insomnia problem should watch this game. I bet it works better than sleeping pill! What south africa is doing?? 328 from 139 overs.. today they picked about 120 runs in 55 overs..just 7 runs from the last 10. sounds like they are trying to save a match nd caught in follow on...

  • TommytuckerSaffa on August 11, 2014, 12:45 GMT

    I am watching this live and this is lame cricket. De Kock started the morning very positively, looking to score and got to 81. Since his wicket, the batting of Duminy and Philander has been over defensive and pathetic. Clearly they are under instruction from the coach Russell Domingo to bat like blind pensioners. Vern is a naturally attacking batsman, what's going on here? Things better change after Tea.

  • JRR562004 on August 11, 2014, 12:48 GMT

    Yawn, Thank goodness Philander is out, he didn't want to score any runs....

  • neo-galactico on August 11, 2014, 12:58 GMT

    Watching paint dry is just as interesting as this innings... Yawn!

  • on August 11, 2014, 13:02 GMT

    Come on SA!!! This is Zim(No.9 in the Test Rankings).... Most of the time when we play quality opposition we rise to the occasion... Then we face a seriously mediocre team and we stoop down to their level and get dictated to by bowlers that would struggle to make some of our franchise sides....

  • AhmedEsat on August 11, 2014, 13:04 GMT

    Clearly being treated as a practise session by South Africa.

  • B.C.G on August 11, 2014, 13:17 GMT

    Continue defending those pathetic tactics chaps.Oh & 2 clearly lesser batsmen in QDK & Steyn showing the BIG GUNS how to play on such "dead" pitches with Zimb. bowling 25cm or whatever outside off.

  • TommytuckerSaffa on August 11, 2014, 13:41 GMT

    Now that Vern has gone out, all of a sudden JP starts FINALLY playing some shots. Clearly the plan he is stay in until the last hour of play and then have a go at Zim with 30 min left in the day. Just wish the guys would play their natural games like Steyn and De Kock did.

  • Proteas_Supporter on August 11, 2014, 13:46 GMT

    Ridiculous stuff from Saffers! I hope SA loses this match.