PORT ELIZABETH, South Africa — South Africa stormed to an innings win over Zimbabwe on Wednesday, needing less than two days of the four-day test to dispatch the visitors.
South Africa bowled the Zimbabweans out for 68 and 121 in the day-night match to win by an innings and 120 runs after making 309-9 declared batting first.
Zimbabwe lost four first-innings wickets quickly under floodlights on day one, but didn’t even make it to the night session on day two. South Africa collected another 16 wickets in less than two sessions on the second day at St. George’s Park to romp to victory before the dinner break.
Fast bowler Morne Morkel destroyed Zimbabwe’s top and middle order in the first innings with his 5-21 from 11 overs. In the second innings, the Zimbabweans collapsed from 54-0 to 121 all out with left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj taking 5-59.
Aiden Markram set up South Africa’s first-innings total with his 125 — a second century in three tests for the opener. AB de Villiers added 53 in his first test in two years.
But the game was decided by the fragility of the Zimbabwe batting lineup as South Africa’s bowlers ran through the tourists twice in quick succession, led by the pace and hostility of Morkel in the first innings and the persistence of Maharaj in the second.
The highest score by a Zimbabwe batsman was 23. Only two Zimbabweans reached double figures in the first innings.
South Africa was also understrength, missing captain Faf du Plessis, who was unavailable because of a virus. Fast bowler Dale Steyn, who was expected to make his return from a series shoulder injury in the game, also missed out because of illness.
The Proteas didn’t miss them.
Morkel knocked Ryan Burl’s off stump out of the ground for the first wicket of the second day, starting a procession of Zimbabwe wickets that ended with Maharaj clinching his five-wicket haul and sealing South Africa’s victory when Chris Mpofu was bowled attempting a big heave down the ground.