Zimbabwe feast for Proteans

Zimbabwe feast for Proteans

In terms of their status in the Test arena there is scarcely a bigger mismatch in world cricket, but South Africa do not intend to go lightly on Zimbabwe in their one-off Test at the Harare Sports Club starting on Saturday.

The Proteas regained top spot in the ICC Test rankings with a first series win in Sri Lanka in 21 years last month, while Zimbabwe are coming off a disappointing home drawn one-day international series against Afghanistan.

There looks to be only one potential winner, but new South Africa captain Hashim Amla, so impressive in his debut series in Sri Lanka having taken over the reins from Graeme Smith, said they will play as hard as if it were Australia in front of them.

"For us it will be business as usual. Test cricket and international cricket, you can never let your guard down. It's quite important to keep the winning ways and that's what we intend on doing," he told reporters.

"We are going to try and play the game as intensely as we play every Test match. Test cricket is not something that you take for granted whether you're ranked at the top or the bottom. On any given day someone can perform, so we are not going to be taking it any lightly."

That suggests there will be little tinkering with the team that won in Sri Lanka, injuries aside, and having retained the same squad that did duty on the sub-continent, South Africa are unlikely to take their big-guns on tour for a rest.

The likes of opener Alviro Petersen and leg-spinner Imran Tahir will seek to use the opportunity secure much-needed runs and wickets respectively as questions have been raised about their positions in the side after a poor showing in recent times.