South Africa record nine-wicket win over Zimbabwe

HARARE: 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 in the middle. Zimbabwe earned one final say when Tendai Chatara disturbed the Elgar’s stumps before they were beaten.
The pitch offered consistent assistance to spin and there were ominous signs before the break 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.