Cape Town - An unbeaten century by Omphile Ramela put South Africa A in a commanding position before Zimbabwe A fought back by the close of day two of the first four-day Test in Harare on Sunday.
The Cape Cobras captain made 101 (224 balls, 9 fours) to take the tourists to 455/6 declared, with the hosts then replying with 107/1 in the 45 overs they faced in reply.
Ramela’s eight career first-class ton was all about patience as it took nearly five and a half hours to amass.
Contrastingly, there was an excellent lower-order blitz by all-rounder Dwaine Pretorius, who fell 11 short of a century after smashing 89 (83 balls, 10 fours, 4 sixes).
Ramela and Pretorius put on 125 for the sixth wicket, with the latter falling to the pick of the bowlers, Shingirai Masakadza (3/83).
The two other wickets to fall in the South African innings on day two were that of Test duo Stiaan van Zyl for 73 (183 balls, 5 fours) and Dane Vilas (1).
When it was time for the South Africans to bowl, the visitors managed just the wicket of Tino Mawoyo (30) in the final hour – the opener dismissed by Dane Piedt (1/23).
Vernon Philander’s return in national colours failed to produce any wickets, but his nine overs came at a cost of just 15. The Proteas’ seamer is playing his first game for his country since sustaining an ankle injury in November.
Zimbabwe’s hero of the day was Brian Chari with his 71 not out (152 balls, 9 fours, 2 sixes) as they closed 348 runs behind.