Dane Piedt was the standout in the one-off Test against Zimbabwe, claiming eight wickets, the most by a South African spinner on debut, to lead the Proteas to a nine-wicket win over their northern neighbours.
Following a frustrating morning, and a rapid collapse by Zimbabwe, things advanced quickly in the evening session. After tea, the Zimbabwean pair of Richmond Mutumbami and John Nyumbu came out to attack the Proteas bowlers, and with Hashim Amla deciding to use his part-time spinners JP Duminy and Dean Elgar, it paid off. They smashed 12 off the first over, nine off the next, and by the time the seamers had come back on, they had already stretched the lead to 36 in six overs.
Dale Steyn was the one to break the stubborn partnership, getting Mutumbami to edge one to Quinton de Kock. He had made a fluent 43, and his wicket spelled the end. Nyumbu chipped one back to Dane Piedt off the first ball of his spell, for 13, and Tinashe Panyangara was the last to go, bowled by Steyn for two.
That meant Zimbabwe were bowled out for 181, setting the Proteas a target of 41 to win the Test. The batsmen picked off the runs with ease, claiming victory by nine wickets. Elgar fell in the second-last over of the game for 21, playing one on off Tendai Chatara, but that was the only wobble in a simple run chase.
Faf du Plessis came in and knocked off the remaining runs, finishing the game with a four, while Alviro Petersen contributed 17 not out, as the Proteas reached the target in 10.4 overs.
While they will be satisfied with the win, South Africa will be unhappy that they had to bat again, especially after having Zimbabwe seven wickets down, and in the middle of a collapse, when they were still 15 runs behind.
However, the victory has been secured, and the Proteas will move on to the ODI portion of the tour with some confidence, aware that they have unearthed a quality Test spinner in the shape of Piedt. His 4-62 in the second innings meant he ended the Test with figures of 8-152, a great start to what could be the beginning of a fruitful Test career for the Cobras man.
The three-game ODI series between South Africa and Zimbabwe starts on Sunday, 17 August.
Morning session summary:
Zimbabwe resumed their innings on 28-1 on day four, still trailing by 113 runs. The hosts did well to only lose one wicket in a tricky 13 over period before stumps on day three, but the amount of turn on offer for off-spinner Piedt suggested it would be a difficult task to survive the day.
Vernon Philander and Steyn started proceedings. Philander beat the outside edge almost immediately with a bit of movement through the air, while Steyn eased into his work with a controlled opening over.
Philander was a bit too short in his opening spell and at his pace, the ball just sat up, which allowed Vusi Sibanda to take full advantage by dispatching two boundaries through the leg side. As a result, Amla pulled him out of the attack and tossed the ball to Morne Morkel.
The extra pace of Morkel and Steyn caused some discomfort, as they peppered the batsman. The hostile tactics didn’t work, though, as Zimbabwe reached the drinks break unscathed on 47-1.
The interval brought a change of plan, as Piedt was given a chance to roll his arm over. The change worked as he struck with the first ball of his second over to reduce Zimbabwe to 58-2. Donald Tiripano did a good job, lasting 63 balls for his five runs, but he couldn’t resist trying to smash the spinner and was clean bowled.
Piedt almost had his second victim when Mark Vermeulen was lured down the track, but Quinton de Kock fluffed a regulation stumping. He continued to cause problems for both batsmen with some extravagant turn, but with a bit of luck they managed to survive the session.
Afternoon session summary:
Zimbabwe resumed after lunch trailing by 61 runs with eight wickets in hand, knowing that if they could continue in a similar vein, South Africa may start to feel a bit of pressure. Unfortunately for the hosts, it wasn’t to be.
Steyn and Piedt were given the ball after lunch. It started to reverse straight away and Steyn used the movement to trap Vermeulen lbw for 21. The next over saw the end of Sibanda for 45 as Piedt took a sharp return catch. The double strike left Zimbabwe on 98-4 with two new men at the crease.
Brendan Taylor was the next to go. He couldn’t deal with the spinning ball and was well caught under the lid by Elgar. It was Piedt’s third wicket of the innings and saw Zimbabwe slump to 113-5.
Morkel replaced Steyn and removed Regis Chakabva for 15, as Zimbabwe found themselves in further trouble at 121-6. The batsman shouldered arms to a ball that continued coming in with the angle and clipped the off stump.
Zimbabwe couldn’t stop their downward spiral and were soon 124-7. Morkel provided Sean Williams with some width, but the left-hander could only slice it to point where JP Duminy took a diving catch.
A fighting effort from Mutumbami and Nyumbu took the hosts to tea.
Report compiled by Gareth Stevens and Dan Gillespie.
Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/Backpagepix