TOURING South Africa made steady progress chasing down Zimbabwe’s first cricket inning total, but the hosts produced another good performance, refusing to roll over against the number one ranked team on day two of the sole Test at Harare Sports Club yesterday.
SENIOR SPORTS REPORTER
At stumps the Proteas were on 201 for four with two half centuries from opener Dean Elgar (61) and Faf du Plessis unbeaten on 69.
But Zimbabwe would be rightly satisfied with their performance with the ball with debutants John Nyumbu (two) and Donald Tiripano (one) both taking important wickets.
Their more experienced seniors and Zimbabwe’s frontline bowlers Tinashe Panyangara and Tendai Chatara kept things tight with respective economies of 1, 12 and 1, 13.
Chatara also claimed the scalp of Hashim Amla after combing with Vusi Sibanda who took two catches.
The day began with the duo of Nyumbu and Tiripano at crease and they only lasted 17 minutes after adding just eight runs to their overnight score of 248-9 from day one.
South Africa got off to a good start with the openers making 57 before Nyumbu got the breakthrough with wicketkeeper Richmond Mutumbami taking a good catch behind.
It was a tough day for Zimbabwean fielders and the fans alike with South Africa scoring at a slow pace, but the mood enlivened after lunch when Zimbabwe started to record some success.
With six wickets intact and just 55 runs shy of the hosts’ first innings total South Africa would also be satisfied with their performance and will expect to build a healthy lead come day three today.
Yet, the hosts have gained in confidence in the last two days and will fancy their bowlers to endure the tourists do not run away.
Few expected Zimbabwe would still be in with a shout at this stage and they might have recorded some achievement by ensuring they are not totally dominated.
With captain Amla and AB de Villiers both back in the hut Zimbabwe will back themselves to ensure they remain competitive and take this match further than many had predicted it would last.
With public holidays coming in the next two days and with the team showing good signs of resilience against the number one ranked team fans are expected to flock Harare Sports Club, possibly to witness an epic match as opposed to the one-sided affair most touted. Play resumes at 10am this morning.