Zimbabwe wrapped up a come-from-behind win against the South African Composite XI shortly before lunch on the third day of the SuperSport Challenge match at Paarl on Saturday.
Despite being bowled out for 89 in their first innings and conceding a first-innings lead of close on 100 runs, their bowlers decimated the home team in the second innings as they fell well short of a moderate target of 150.
Resuming needing a further 108 runs with six wickets in hand, the local batsmen struggled against some good medium-fast bowling. Elton Chigumbura made the early breakthrough by bowling Shuan Liebisch, and Christopher Mpofu trapped Shane Burger in front shortly afterwards.
Although the tail-enders struck out for some boundaries, they never looked like reaching the target. The last pair of Jeandre Coetzee and Paul Adams swung away merrily. Their partnership of 28 for the 10th wicket was the best of the innings.
Chigumbura picked up two more wickets to finish with a career-best analysis of five for 33, only the second five-wicket return of his career. Mpofu’s dismissal of Adams to end the innings was his third wicket.
In a match dominated by the bowlers, Tatenda Taibu’s aggressive century on the second day was ultimately the difference between the two teams, and earned him the man-of-the-match award. The pitch did play a role, assisting the seamers until the end with movement and bounce.
Zimbabwe thus followed up on their win against the Composite XI in Potchefstroom in November. However, they have much homework to do if they are to return to Test cricket in the foreseeable future, particular in the batting department. They will meet the Composite XI again in Kimberley early in the new year before embarking on a tour of Pakistan. — Sapa