SA seal emphatic win

As expected, South Africa dismissed Zimbabwe again today to easily win the first test. The tourists fared rather better second time around, posting a more respectable total of 265, but their nightmare first day had left the game as good as decided. The final margin of defeat was an innings and 21 runs, which actually understates the extent of their humiliation. The loss of only three SA wickets is a better indication of their superiority, and this week’s prize is to anyone who can find a test won with fewer. Given the nature of those dismissals, it’s not inconceivable that SA could have won this game without losing a single wicket had they felt so inclined. In terms of balls bowled, only 10 tests have been decided in fewer deliveries. As four of those were played on nineteenth century stickies, another four involved emergent SA, WI or NZ sides in the first half of the twentieth century, and one was the single innings affair at Centurion five years ago, Zimbabwe now find themselves virtually in a league of their own in the modern game.

Graeme Smith’s overnight declaration was widely expected, and the only question at the start of play was how long Zimbabwe would detain their hosts. The answer was rather longer than many of us expected. Stuart Matsikenyeri only made 13 before playing Ntini into the safe hands of Jacques Rudolph at short leg, but then we saw some welcome resistance. Dion Ebrahim and Barney Rogers took the score to 59 before Rogers also fell to Ntini, edging behind for 28. Hamilton Masakadza and Ebrahim then added 98 and, at 157 for 2, the game was actually resembling test cricket. It didn’t last, of course. Having reached 46, Masakadza cut Boje straight to Gibbs at backward point, and then the floodgates opened, with a further four wickets falling for 29.

And what soft dismissals they were. Brendon Taylor lofted Boje to mid-off, Tatenda Taibu pulled Langeveldt to mid-wicket, Elton Chigumbura missed one from Boje to be bowled for a duck and, on the stroke of tea, Ebrahim’s fine innings ended when he padded up to Langeveldt and found himself leg before. After tea, Heath Streak’s less than glorious return to the test area was ended by Kallis, who had him taken by Gibbs for 12, and it only remained for Andy Blignaut to smash half a dozen sixes in a rapid half century. That included 22 from a single over from Boje, but the spinner finally had his revenge, having him stumped for 61 attempting more carnage, and that brought an end to proceedings.

Zimbabwe 54
Kallis 4 for 13, Pollock 3 for 9, Ntini 3 for 23

South Africa 340 for 3 declared
Smith 121, de Villiers 98, Kallis 54, Cremer 3 for 86

Zimbabwe 265
Ebrahim 72, Blignaut 61, Masakadza 46, Boje 4 for 106

South Africa won by an innings and 21 runs

Man of the Match
Jacques Kallis

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