Dale Steyn marked his return to the ODI setup with a maiden half-century as he helped drag the Proteas from 101-7 to 198 in the second ODI against Zimbabwe.
The Proteas batters crumbled at the Mangaung Oval in Bloemfontein.
JP Duminy elected to bat first to give his inexperienced batsmen a chance to prove their worth, but their efforts were embarrassing as they lost all seven specialist batsmen for 101 runs in 25 overs.
Shaun Pollock and Victor Mpitsang’s analysis of the pitch suggested that Duminy’s decision was correct, as they predicted a hard surface with loads of runs on offer. This was not the case as the strip misbehaved through inconsistent bounce.
Expectations were that as the ball softened batting would become easier. Unfortunately, none of the top order batsmen survived long enough to prove that hypothesis.
Aiden Markram scored 35 off 49 balls (six fours). He showed early fight – despite losing three partners for 26 runs – but he failed to push on and nicked a Donald Tiripano delivery with an attempted cut shot to the keeper.
Christiaan Jonker managed four fours and a six for his 25, but he was fooled by a straight delivery from spinner Brandon Mavuta (2-48), mistiming a wild swing only to see his middle stump tumble.
Khaya Zondo scored 21 but he was stumped by Brendan Taylor off the bowling of Mavuta.
Reeza Hendricks’ (one) dismissal in the third over was a representation of the pitch – he lunged forward with an attempted defensive shot expecting an ordinary bounce, but the ball kept unusually low to miss the bottom of the bat and crash into the bottom of his off-stump.
Dean Elgar (four) put in another poor showing, pushing at a wide delivery from Tendai Chatara (3-42) and found a feather of an edge to the Zimbabwe keeper.
Heinrich Klaasen attempted to pull a thigh-high full delivery from Chatara but lifted it straight to Solomon Mire.
Duminy was dismissed lbw by Kyle Jarvis (2-26) for five and that was that – the Proteas’ top seven decapitated for a measly 101 in 25 overs.
Brave efforts from Andile Phehlukwayo and Steyn covered up the Proteas batting blunder.
The pair’s 75-run partnership included a career-best knock from Steyn, but Phehlukwayo only managed 28 before nicking a Chatara delivery down leg.
Steyn ended on 60 (eight fours, one six) before he was bowled by Tiripano (2-37)
South Africa innings 198– Dale Steyn 60, Aiden Markram 35; Kyle Jarvis 2-26, Tendai Chatara 3-42