The Zimbabwe batsmen will face a battle for survival in the first session of day two at St George’s Park.
Morne Morkel claimed three wickets and Vernon Philander one as South Africa reduced Zimbabwe to 30-4 late on day one. The tourists will resume their first innings on day two with Ryan Burl and Kyle Jarvis at the crease.
At this point, they won’t concern themselves with the 279-run deficit, but rather the 121 runs needed to avoid the follow-on.
Nine wickets in total fell during the third session on day one. The ball is unlikely to move as much as it did last night when play resumes this afternoon. The bad news for Zimbabwe, however, is that the ball is only 16 overs old and there isn’t much batting to come.
The Proteas look set to resume their stint in the field without their regular wicketkeeper. Quinton de Kock injured his hamstring while batting on day one, and isn’t expected to feature on day two.
AB de Villiers will continue to wear the gloves in De Kock’s absence. This may influence De Villiers’s decision regarding the follow-on. De Villiers himself has a chronic back problem, and may not fancy an extended run behind the stumps.
That said, the Proteas may look to bat again and make the most out of this four-day contest. While they finished on 309-9 declared on day one, they lost their last six wickets for 58 runs. There is room for improvement, and South Africa may indeed benefit from an extended run in the middle ahead of the more demanding Tests against India, which begin on 5 January.
Play at St George’s Park will resume at 13:30.
SA 309-9 declared (1st innings) – Aiden Markram 125, AB de Villiers 53, Kyle Jarvis 3-57, Christopher Mpofu 3-58
Zimbabwe 30-4 (1st innings) – Ryan Burl 15 not out, Morné Morkel 3-20, Vernon Philander 1-5
Zimbabwe trail by 279 runs
Photo: Chris Ricco/BackpagePix