South Africa were made to work hard on day two of their one-off Test match against Zimbabwe in Harare. They closed day two on 201-4 in their first innings, just 55 runs behind Zimbabwe's 256 all out.
Day two began with South Africa's World number one ranked bowler Dale Steyn quickly taking the wicket of Zimbabwe's number 11 John Nyumbu to dismiss the home side for 256.
Steyn once again proved his worth as he took 5-46 in the innings, his 24th five-for in Test match cricket. Steyn also moved to 14th place in the all-time list of Test match wicket takers with 380, closing in on Ian Botham (383) in 13th position.
However, South Africa were also impressed with their debutant spinner Dane Piedt who took 4-90, including a wicket with his first ball in Test cricket. By doing so he became only the second South African bowler in 126 years to achieve such a feat.
South Africa's first innings reply was, at times, slow but was not helped by a pitch not conducive to fluent stroke play. Zimbabwe's first innings 256 was achieved at just 2.76 runs per over but South Africa could only muster a rate of 2.39.
Elgar to the rescue
The Proteas had to dig deep and were thankful to opener Dean Elgar (61) and an unbeaten 69 from Faf du Plessis as they edged closer to Zimbabwe's first innings total. South Africa had to overcome a slight collapse as they slumped from 132-1 to 157-4 but wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock helped du Plessis steer the visitors to the close without any further loss.
South Africa need to win this Test to remain the world's top Test team.
Hashim Amla will be keen for his side to build a substantial lead on day three as they know that any lead could be crucial on a pitch that is unlikely to improve during the rest of the Test. Zimbabwe though will be looking to capture early wickets to halt their opponents push for victory. Day three could well prove decisive in determining the outcome of this Test.
Over the first two days Zimbabwe have shown that they can compete, even with the World's best side, and this will hopefully boost the confidence of the lowly ranked side for the rest of this Test and any future games.
Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: https://www.givemesport.com/writeforgms