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Nyumbu keeps Proteas lead in check

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John Nyumbu, like Dane Piedt an off-spinner making his international debut, went one better than the South African in taking five wickets on the third day of the one-off Test match at the Harare Sports Club on Monday.

It took Nyumbu, who impressed with his sustained control, a mammoth 49.3 overs to finish with 5/157 (7 maidens) but he played the major role in restricting the Castle Lager Proteas’ first innings advantage to 141 runs.

The Proteas amassed 397 before being dismissed halfway through the 159th over and by the close Zimbabwe had responded with 28 in 13 overs for the loss of the important wicket of Hamilton Masakadza to give Morne Morkel his first success of the match to reduce the Proteas’ overall advantage to 113 runs.

The Proteas total was set up on the third day by the fifth wicket partnership of 119 between Faf du Plessis and Quinton de Kock that constituted a record against Zimbabwe. Remarkably, the previous fifth wicket record partnership put together by Andrew Hudson and Jonty Rhodes in the inaugural Test match in Harare in 1995 had been only 60 runs.

Du Plessis, having batted with monumental patience for four minutes short of six hours, was agonizingly dismissed two runs short of what would have been his fourth Test match century (264 balls, 11 fours) to give Nyumbu the first of his three wickets on the day.

De Kock brought a refreshingly attack attitude to the Proteas batting to finish on 81 (152 balls, 5 fours and a six) while JP Duminy again shepherded the lower order extremely well on his way to another half-century (55 off 134 balls, 1 four) to make sure that the last four wickets added 105 runs to the total.

While Nyumbu returned the headline figures, he was well supported by the seamers who stuck diligently to Zimbabwe’s game plan with some success. Tinashe Panyangara and Tendai Chatara between them conceded only 73 runs in 57 overs.