Woeful Batting Spoils Chevrons Boxing Day Match

AFTER a magnificent display with the ball to pick up nine South African wickets which saw the home team declare their first innings, Zimbabwe threw away that advantage with a woeful batting display on the opening day of the day/night cricket Test at St George’s Park on Tuesday.

Seamers Kyle Jarvis and Christopher Mpofu had three wickets apiece, leg spinner Graeme Cremer took two while there was one run out in South Africa’s first innings total of 309 for nine in 78.3 overs.

Opener Aiden Markram top scored for the Proteas with 125 runs while stand in skipper AB de Villiers was second best with 53.

A shambolic batting display saw Zimbabwe end the day on 30 for four in 16 overs which means they trail by 279 runs with six wickets in hand.

Zimbabwe could not handle the South African fast bowling under the lights, Hamilton Masakadza gone for a first ball duck, trapped leg before wicket by fast bowler Morne Morkel.

His opening partner Chamunorwa Chibhabha was also out cheaply for seven to the same bowler.

Brendan Taylor went for a five ball duck, getting an outside edge off Morkel’s bowling to be taken behind by De Villiers.

Craig Ervine, the only Zimbabwean batsman who seemed to survive the onslaught also buckled under pressure, trapped leg before wicket by Vernon Philander for four runs.

When South Africa chose to bat after winning the toss, their opening pair of Markram and Dean Elgar put on 72 runs prior to Jarvis, in his seventh over found the breakthrough, removing Elgar on 31, the left hander flicking the ball to Peter Moor at midwicket with the fielder making sure with the catch, going low to complete the dismissal.

Mpofu could not believe it when he picked up the wicket of Hashim Amla, the former South African captain playing a tame shot straight into the hands of Moor to depart for five.

Markram and De Villiers flayed around with the Zimbabwe bowlers as they build a formidable partnership. De Villiers reached his 40th Test 50 with a single taken off the bowling of medium pace bowler Chamunorwa Chibhabha.

With the partnership between Markram and the stand in skipper on 96, Mpofu removed De Villiers, taking a catch off his own bowling.

Markram reached his second Test hundred with a boundary off Cremer’s bowling, having faced 175 deliveries, dispatched 13 fours and one six.

Jarvis ended Markram’s innings just before the dinner break, the opener getting an outside edge which flew behind to be brilliantly caught by Taylor. Markram was on his way for 125 of 204 balls, an innings made up of 14 fours and two sixes.

Bavuma became wicket number three for Jarvis, getting an outside edge for Taylor to take his second catch of the innings.

Cremer picked up his first wicket, trapping Philander leg before wicket for 10, the batsman chose to review it but he was still confirmed out. In his very next over, Cremer had his second wicket, Quinton de Cock attempting a sweep only to be wrapped in front for 24.

Kagiso Rabada was run out after facing just one delivery, going for a second run only for Moor to fire in the ball from the deep for Taylor to whip the bails off before the batsman could make his ground.

When Keshav Maharaj was dismissed by Mpofu, caught by debutant Ryan Burl, South Africa decided to call time on their first innings so as to give their bowlers a chance to test the Zimbabwean batsmen under floodlights.

That declaration paid off with four wickets before the close of play which certainly put the Proteas on top of the situation in this four-day contest.



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