Brave Zim in good start

HARARE - Zimbabwe were able to mount a resistance against a quality South African bowling attack to bat all the overs on the first day of the one-off Test match closing on 248 for nine at stumps here yesterday.

This is only the fourth time Zimbabwe has been able to get past the 200 mark in the first innings in eight Tests against South Africa, who are currently the number one Test playing nation in the world.

Test debutants Donald Tiripano and John Nhumbu are both unbeaten on nine and zero at the end of play yesterday.

Zimbabwe Test captain Brendan Taylor won the toss and elected to bat against a fiery South African pace barrage led by best ranked bowler, Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander and Morne Morkel.

The tourists got off to an expected start removing Zimbabwe opener Vusi Sibanda for a seven-ball duck after he was caught at slip by Alviro Petersen off the bowling of Steyn after 2.1 overs.

At this stage Zimbabwe were still trying to find their feet with no runs on the board.

Returning batsman, Mark Vermeulen played some spectacular back-foot shots to repel Steyn.

Vermeulen made the best bowler in the world look pretty ordinary but his 93-ball stay on the crease came to a crashing end when he was struck plum by debutant off-spinner, Dane Piedt in the 16th with a score of 14.

At lunch the hosts had lost two more wickets when Masakadza (45) and Regis Chakabva (0) all fell at the bowling of Piedt.

New Zealand umpire Christopher Gaffaney, marred Zimbabwe’s charge on his international debut after dismissing Sean Williams (24) for a caught behind dismissal but replays seemed to suggest that the left-hander did not nick Steyn’s delivery.

Taylor’s 60 runs at tea kept the innings intact for Zimbabwe while compatriot Richmond Mutumbami was also unbeaten on 15 runs with the scoreboard on 165-5 after 55 overs.

Mutumbami (21) was adjudged lbw by the 38-year-old New Zealand umpire off Steyn’s bowling but replays showed the ball missing leg stump while Tinashe Panyangara (12) was caught behind by wicketkeeper Quinton de Cock off Philander.

With the new ball due in five overs, Taylor tried to race his way to a hundred but his shot went as far as JP Duminy at the mid-wicket boundary as the Zimbabwe skipper fell for 93 runs in the 77th over.

Steyn and Piedt picked four wickets apiece for 45 and 90 runs respectively but the day will be remembered largely for the questionable decisions by Gaffaney .

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