Shambolic Zimbabwe sink to record low low

Zimbabwe 54 South Africa 340-3
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The Independent Online

Zimbabwe appear to be heading towards one of the biggest defeats in Test history after the opening day of their series against South Africa.

Zimbabwe appear to be heading towards one of the biggest defeats in Test history after the opening day of their series against South Africa.

After being bowled out for 54, their lowest ever total in Test cricket, the tourists were caned by the South African batsmen who made a massive 340 for three from just 50 overs by close of play.

That put South Africa 286 ahead against a Zim team widely considered to be below true Test pedigree.

The one-sided first day set several records - eclipsing the previous biggest first-innings lead on the first day of a Test match, 233 set by England against Australia in 1896.

Jacques Kallis also scored the fastest Test 50 in history, taking only 24 balls to knock Ian Botham's record of 26 deliveries in 1981-2 in Delhi out of the record books.

Kallis hit three fours and five big sixes in making as many runs as Zim on his own - before being caught by Andy Blignaut off Graeme Cremer's bowling.

Cremer's figures of three for 86 off nine overs made him statistically the best of the Zimbabwe bowlers.

Captain Graeme Smith (121) and AB de Villiers shared an opening stand of 217, the former reaching his ton off 101 balls with 16 fours along the way before falling to an outstanding catch by Hamilton Masakadza as he aimed a third six off Cremer.

De Villiers was two short of his century when he skied a similar ball to Blignaut off the same bowler.

Jacques Rudolph (49no) and Herschelle Gibbs were the unbeaten batsmen at stumps.

Earlier, Zimbabwe's batting had collapsed in their first-ever Test at Newlands.

Makhaya Ntini and Kallis were the chief early destroyers, claiming three wickets each.

Only opener Stuart Matsikenyeri reached double figures.

South Africa wicketkeeper Mark Boucher, meanwhile, claimed his 300th Test match dismissal - with only Australians Ian Healy (395) and Rodney Marsh (355) ahead of him.

Ntini became only the third South African to reach 200 Test wickets when he bowled Dion Ebrahim.

Zimbabwe captain Tatenda Taibu, who chose to bat first, provided the only moment of pleasure for the tourists when he edged a boundary to pass the 1,000 Test runs mark.

Kallis had the hosts' best bowling figures of four for 13, while Shaun Pollock finished with figures of three for nine from eight overs.

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