Zimbabwe v South Africa, only Test, Harare, 4th day August 12, 2014

Piedt ensures South Africa triumph

68

South Africa 397 (Du Plessis 98, De Kock, 81, Nyumbu 5-157) and 44 for 1 beat Zimbabwe 256 (Taylor 93, Steyn 5-46, Piedt 4-90) and 181 (Sibanda 45, Piedt 4-62) by nine wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Zimbabwe had competed ably for 10 sessions in Harare, but they wilted in the face of reverse swing and prodigious turn after lunch on the fourth day. They lost eight wickets for 83 runs and South Africa cantered to another victory on the road. The 41-run target provided just enough for openers Alviro Petersen and Dean Elgar to have a little fun. Zimbabwe earned one final say when Tendai Chatara disturbed Elgar's stumps before they were beaten.

The pitch offered consistent assistance to spin and there were ominous signs before lunch when the top-scorer Vusi Sibanda's defences were breached with the first ball Dane Piedt bowled - a loopy delivery that swerved from outside off to sneak between his bat and pad. The batsman survived, but the first ball of the offspinner's second over fetched the wicket as the nighwatchman Donald Tiripano, having been sensible for 62 balls, opted for a slog sweep and ended with his leg stump uprooted.

Piedt was rampant in the second session and finished with 8 for 152, the best match haul by a South Africa spinner on debut. He tied Mark Vermeulen in knots, tempted Brendan Taylor to lob to short leg, and preyed on Sibanda's patience. His flight was a big factor in the turn he extracted and his line ensured the batsmen were under constant pressure.

At the other end, Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel's threat was enhanced by reverse swing. Vermeulen was set up with steady diet outside off. He shuffled across and groped, displaying all the rust of his 10 years out of Test cricket until an inswinger had him plumb in front.

Sibanda was the set batsman. His face still showed vestiges of the chicken pox he had recovered from, as he concentrated on protecting his off stump from Steyn. He batted on off stump to Piedt and swept from outside it, once for a six over midwicket. Zimbabwe eased to 52 runs at the cost of only one wicket in the morning and it was largely down to some stubborn batting. But the ill-timed charge from Sibanda to lob a return catch to Piedt exemplified Zimbabwe's falling away since lunch. He was out for 45, his 15th consecutive sub-fifty outing.

Taylor had looked Zimbabwe's best batsman in the first innings and had generally played Piedt off the back foot or with sweeps during his 93. Here though he was drawn forward by the offspinner, the ball dipped and bounced and the inside edge was smartly grabbed by Dean Elgar at short leg.

Zimbabwe were trailing by 28 but had five wickets in hand. Morkel threw a wrench into that equation with two quick wickets and the hosts were down to their last three men and still behind by 17. The tail, guided by wicketkeeper Richmond Mutumbami, managed to erase the deficit. He led Zimbabwe's highest partnership of the innings - the 54 runs he collected with John Nyumbu had the Harare crowd roaring.

The rot that set in in the middle session was forgotten as Mutumbami struck four fours after tea. That too, his 69 minutes at the crease were spent in pain after Morkel welcomed him with an attempted yorker that nailed his left toe. He was not seen for South Africa's chase, with Regis Chakabva taking the gloves. However, the absence of the first-choice keeper did not really hurt Zimbabwe any more than they must have already been hurting.

Alagappan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Chris_P on August 13, 2014, 20:23 GMT

    @Greatest_Game &@ BellCurve. That is an impressive record & well done for achieving it. I got no problems handing out kudos when deserved & this one is richly deserved, especially when I read about the "lions at home" comments some who post are fixated with. Cheers!

  • Greatest_Game on August 13, 2014, 16:54 GMT

    @ BellCurve. Thanks for clarifying the series win/series undefeated question for me. That is definitely one with which to tickle some of our 'sensitive' Aussie friends.

    @ PPL11. As strong as your belief is, it will not change the record books. SA ARE undefeated in a series in India since 2004 - 10 YEARS! During India's most successful test period - 2008 to 2011, when South Africans Gary Kirsten and Paddy Upton coached them - the ONLY country to win a test in India was SA - TWICE. SA won in 2008 & 2010, but both series were drawn. At home, Ind do not even have a winning record against SA! SA have won 5 tests, & India have won 5.

    Of course India have NEVER won a series in SA, winning only 2 tests, to SA's 8 wins. SA clearly dominate India in South Africa, & India only manages parity with SA in India. And the icing on the cake? SA have WHITEWASHED India, in a series IN INDIA! Yes, Sachin, VVS, Dravid, Ganguly, Kumble, Azharuddin, Jaffer & Co were whitewashed, in India, by SA! FACT!

  • dummy4fb on August 13, 2014, 15:38 GMT

    Just a question has SA finally found a decent spinner. Is this end of the round Imran Tahir?

  • gimme-a-greentop on August 13, 2014, 13:31 GMT

    @wellrounded87...you are entitled to your opinion, no problem. I won't call you ill-informed, and avoid being wrong that way :)

  • dummy4fb on August 13, 2014, 11:17 GMT

    Sorry guys I eventually went to check quickly. I am thinking of a previous series between SA and India.

  • wapuser on August 13, 2014, 10:33 GMT

    I am sure someone can confirm this but since 2008 I am sure South Africa have chased the most scores in excess of 300 and we have also chased 400 in Perth along with nearly chasing 458 against India, yet we get called conservative and boring. I don't recall that 404 chase being boring, or 3 years later Hash plundering 100 in a session on route to 196 followed by AB reverse sweeping Lyon 4 times to reach 100 eventually 160 to setup victory sealed by Steyn's 5'fer. Or how boring was watching Faf and AB surge along in chasing 450 on a deck where the odd ball rolled. Some can sit by their "at least we tried" argument, which in sporting terms means "loser".

  • dummy4fb on August 13, 2014, 10:15 GMT

    @ PPLL11, you are incorrect, the result of the series you are referring to was drawn. SA won the 1st test by an innings and 6 runs and IND the 2nd test by an innings and 57 runs in the 2 match series. http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/series/441824.html

  • dummy4fb on August 13, 2014, 10:06 GMT

    @PPL11 - South Africa drew that series. How difficult is it to do your homework before correcting someone else? South Africa last lost a Test match series away from home to Sri Lanka in July 2006. Fact.

  • BellCurve on August 13, 2014, 9:58 GMT

    @ PPL11 - you are wrong my friend

  • johno04 on August 13, 2014, 9:56 GMT

    @PPL11, that series in India was drawn 1-1. If you are talking about a the last series South Africa was there

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