While South Africa is top of the test cricket rankings, the country’s northern neighbour, Zimbabwe, is in ninth place, just above bottom of the table Bangladesh. Despite this, the Proteas insist they will not underestimate the Zimbabweans when the teams meet in a one-off test from Saturday at the Harare Sports Club.
South Africa and Zimbabwe have met seven times previously in test matches, with South Africa winning six of those matches and the other one, played in Bulawayo in September 2001, ending in a draw after rain prevented play on the second day.
The recently retired Jacques Kallis scored 189 in that match, which remained his highest test score until he bettered it in 2010 with 201 against India.
Proteas’ all-rounder JP Duminy said on Thursday that while the South Africans are big favourites to hand the Zimbabweans another defeat, they need to be at their best to do that.
“It’s another test match and we are going to have to prepare the same way that we would for any test match,” Duminy said on Thursday afternoon in Harare.
“There is probably more emphasis on this test match because the pressure will be on us to put in a big performance. We are up for the challenge.
“It’s a representative game for your country so you have to take it seriously.”
Coming off their first series win in Sri Lanka since 1993, the Proteas are eager to build on that momentum with another victory.
“It’s an International game. Once you take your foot off the gas Mother Cricket finds you out very quickly,” Duminy said.
“We are not going to try and win this test match in three days. If we win the match in the last session of the last day, it will still be a job well done. That is the mind-set that we have to try and have focusing on each session and each day, we can’t look too far ahead.
“You have to respect each and every team that you play against,” he added. “We respect Zimbabwe and by no means are we taking this game lightly. We have to make sure that we put in our best performance.”
South Africa and Zimbabwe last met in 2005, with the Proteas winning by an innings and 21 runs in Cape Town, and by an innings and 62 runs in Centurion.
Of the current South African team, only AB de Villiers, who opened the innings at Newlands, played in that last test between the two countries.
Duminy said the unknown factor of some of Zimbabwe’s players’ means the Proteas will need to place more emphasis on personal preparation and game plans.
‘The best chance to perform’
“In these kinds of situations, you probably focus more on your own preparation and what it will take to give yourself the best chance to perform,” he explained.
“It will be key for the batting and bowling attacks to have an understanding of what they (Zimbabwe) will bring, but again focusing more on our skills.”
The one-off test will be followed by a three-match one-day international series before South Africa, Zimbabwe and Australia meet in a three-way ODI series.
Sun, 17 Aug 1st ODI – Zimbabwe v South Africa Queens Sports Club, Bulawayo
Tue, 19 Aug 2nd ODI – Zimbabwe v South Africa Queens Sports Club, Bulawayo
Thu, 21 Aug 3rd ODI – Zimbabwe v South Africa Queens Sports Club, Bulawayo
Wed, 27 Aug Australia v South Africa Harare Sports Club
Fri, 29 Aug Zimbabwe v South Africa Harare Sports Club
Tue, 2 Sep Australia v South Africa Harare Sports Club
Thu, 4 Sep Zimbabwe v South Africa Harare Sports Club
Source : SouthAfrica.info