Donald takes SA to brink of victory

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The Independent Online

Allan Donald broke Zimbabwe's resistance by capturing six for 69 with magnificently sustained fast bowling to put South Africa on course for victory in their one-off Test in Harare yesterday.

Zimbabwe, 176 behind on first innings, were 272 for 8 at the close on the third day when they led by 96 with two wickets and two days remaining.

The Warwickshire paceman troubled every batsman on a slow and blameless pitch, varying his pace and bowling. He began the day by removing opener Grant Flower without addition to the overnight total of 13 when an outside edge was held by Brian McMillan at second slip.

The left-handers Mark Dekker and Alistair Campbell resisted the four- pronged pace attack for 90 minutes before Campbell holed out to long leg off McMillan for 28.

Dekker perished 50 minutes after lunch, taken at 65 for 2, when he edged left-arm paceman Brett Schultz to third slip for 24.

The 38-year-old Dave Houghton chose attack as the best form of defence and raced to 30 from 39 balls, hammering five boundaries, until he miscued a Donald bouncer to mid-on. By tea, Zimbabwe were 151 for 4, still 25 runs from avoiding an innings defeat.

However, their captain, Andy Flower, led from the front with a fighting 63 in three and a quarter hours from 114 balls. Together with the all- rounder Guy Whittall, who made 38 from 125 balls, he added 97 for fifth wicket. Yet Donald undid much of the batsmen's good work with a telling spell of four for three in five overs.

Flower edged a vicious lifter to the wicketkeeper, Dave Richardson, Whittall was beaten for pace and lbw, Craig Wishart missed a fierce yorker and Heath Streak was magnificently held in the gully by the South African captain, Hansie Cronje. Donald's fifth wicket, that of Wishart, was his 800th in first-class cricket.

(Third day, Zimbabwe won toss)

ZIMBABWE - First Innings 170 (H H Streak 53; B N Schultz 4-54, A A Donald 3-42).

SOUTH AFRICA - First Innings 346 (A C Hudson 135, B M McMillan 98; B Strang 5-101).

ZIMBABWE - Second Innings

(Overnight: 13 for 0)

M H Dekker c Hudson b Schultz 24

G W Flower c McMillan b Donald 5

A D R Campbell c Schultz b McMillan 28

D Houghton c Matthews b Donald 30

*A Flower c Richardson b Donald 63

G J Whittall lbw b Donald 38

C B Wishart b Donald 13

P A Strang not out 34

H H Streak c Cronje b Donald 0

B Strang not out 18

Extras (nb9 w1 lb9) 19

Total (for 8, 100 overs) 272

To bat: C Lock.

Fall: 1-13 2-64 3-71 4-102 5-199 6-206 7-231 8-231.

Bowling: Donald 31-11-69-6; Schultz 22-7 -64-1; Symcox 11-3-22-0; Matthews 20-7 -52-0; McMillan15-3-53-1; Cronje 1-0-3-0.