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

Nyumbu's five limits deficit to 141


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

  • Billy 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.

  • David 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

  • richard 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.

  • Nix 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.

  • Tabrez mallik 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

  • richard 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.

  • ESPN 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.

  • Nix 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.

  • ESPN 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.

  • ESPN 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?

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