South Africa are in the ascendancy against Zimbabwe as they lead by 141 runs at the end of Day three of the one-off Test match being played in Harare.
The Proteas made 397 in reply to Zimbabwe's first innings total of 256. The Zimbabweans, in their second innings, were 28 for the loss of one wicket at the close of play.
The star of the day for South Africa was Faf du Plessis who ground out 98 runs. He was unfortunate to fall two short of what would have been his fourth hundred. Wicket keeper Quinton de Kock gave him good support as he scored 81 runs.
For the hosts, offspinner John Nyumbu's hard work paid off as he bagged five wickets on his debut. In the process he became only the second Zimbabwean to achieve this feat.
While Hashim Amla's men did take a biggish lead, their progress however was very slow. As to why their they did not attack more, left many befuddled. In the second session only 56 runs were scored in as many as 30.4 overs.
South Africa started day three 55 runs behind with the score at 201 for four, with de Kock and du Plessis at the crease. Du Plessis began in a very slow fashion and continued in the same vein till the time he was scalped by Nyumbu. As Amla and AB de Villiers had both departed the previous evening, du Plessis set about stonewalling while on the other side de Kock was more aggressive than him.
Only spinner Nyumbu, who tried to use to all his tricks to deceive the South Africans, really troubled the batsmen, though. He succeeded in dismissing du Plessis, who edged a ball to backward short leg, two short of his century. He also bagged JP Duminy's wicket when he had him reverse sweep a ball to slip.
As expected, de Kock's 81 contained five fours and a six, although by his standards his knock was slow. His six off Nyumbu was a memorable one as he used his feet to clear the ropes. De Kock, however, could not make make a hundred as he fell to Sean Williams.
Duminy's 55 was crucial too in setting up the 141-run lead for the Proteas. He played in much the same manner that du Plessis played as he ensured bowlers would have to work very hard for his wicket. His 55 had just one four.
In the second innings, just before the close of play, the Zimbabwe batsmen had to face a stern examination from the famed South Africa pace trio of Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Vernon Philander. Morkel, in particular, gave them a rough time with his short-pitched deliveries. In the end it was a nasty short ball from Morkel that proved to be opener Hamilton Masakadza's undoing, as Zimbabwe ended the day at 28 for one, trailing by 113 runs.