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Cricket: Taylor disappointed

zimbabwe-cricket-team-1WHILE Brendan Taylor, the Zimbabwe national cricket team skipper, admitted that he was disappointed to lose to South Africa, the world’s number one ranked side in Test cricket, he believed there were more positives than negatives from their one-off Test match which ended on Tuesday, August 12 at Harare Sports Club.

Zimbabwe put up a commendable performance in the first three days only to be outplayed and out-thought by the Proteas going into day four as the visitors sealed a nine wicket victory. “I am extremely disappointed sitting here (after the loss),” said Taylor.

“Right from the first session until day three, we were very much in the game and I thought we had an edge to hold on. I really wanted us to play five days but we collapsed on the fourth day. However there were more positives than negatives from this game especially for a side that has not played Test cricket in a long time.”

John Nyumbu became only the second Zimbabwean to snap up a five-wicket haul on Test debut after right-arm bowler, Andy Blignaut who secured a five wicket maiden haul in a Test match against Bangladesh in 2001. The biggest scalps had to be that of captain Hashim Amla, De villiers and Du Plessis. Rarely do you see the Proteas captain out for such a low score; let alone make such an uncharacteristic error.

Nyumbu took particular delight in one wicket, that of AB de Villiers. He described it as an “honour” bowling to and bowling out the best batsmen in the world.  The wicket was low, crumbling, slow and the over rate was low. South Africa increased it in the later stages of Day 3.  This is how the hosts seem to have prepared the pitch and hoped it would help in looking for a positive result.  South Africa had very few questions to answer and managed to post a 141 run lead after their first innings score.

With Zimbabwe employing spin for 12 overs they conceded 41 runs. This saw Sean Williams grab De Kocks’ wicket as he sliced an inside-edge to short midwicket. As it seemed like a further slowdown in the game. Tinashe Panyangare was very economical too with a spell of about +\-0,77 runs an over.

The bowlers did their part and so did the batsmen. South Africa had a dry spell but was in control. They scored 15 runs in 18,4 Overs up to tea.  When Dale Steyn entered the fray he managed to speed things up and increase the run rate by smashing a few sixies. It was all South Africa in the third day.

Going into the fourth day fans hoped Zimbabwe would manage to bat all day and keep their run-rate low to try and salvage a draw.  Heading into lunch, one wicket was lost; that of Donald Tiripano in the morning session. The returning Mark Vermeulen was on crease with Sibanda in a 22 run partnership. Credit must go to Zimbabwe. They made South Africa work hard for the wicket.

After lunch there was a sudden collapse as the Proteas struck three times in the space of under three overs for 14 runs as Vermeulen, Vusi Sibanda and Taylor fell.  With Regis Chakabva and Williams coming in, their partnership quickly ran into trouble, with both being dismissed by Morne Morkel.  This just left Zimbabwe’s hopes hanging by a thread. The inevitable was nothing short of a defeat.

Mutumbami and Nyumbu battled slowly and managed to see the deficit through and coincided with tea. The pair looked set to build somewhat of a lead and only managed 41.  Zimbabwe was bowled out for 181. They went on to grab Dean Elgars’ wicket but the hosts succumbed to a 9 wicket loss. Debutant Dean Piedt grabbed 8/152 while Steyn managed 8/84. While the result is crushing, take nothing from Zimbabwe who gave it a full go against the number one Test side. Hopefully with more stability in the Union and Test experience Zimbabwe can put a bigger fight. – Benedict Chanakira