South Africa’s JP Duminy urges caution before Test against Zimbabwe

South Africa might be overwhelming favourites for victory having reclaimed top spot in the Test rankings after their successful tour of Sri Lanka, but all-rounder Duminy believes the pressure is on his side.

JP Duminy believes the pressure is on his South Africa side to deliver a convincing performance and they are not taking anything for granted. Lakruwan Wanniarachchi / AFP
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JP Duminy insists South Africa are not taking Zimbabwe lightly ahead of their one-off Test, which begins in Harare on Saturday.

South Africa might be overwhelming favourites for victory having reclaimed top spot in the Test rankings after their successful tour of Sri Lanka, but all-rounder Duminy believes the pressure is on his side to deliver a convincing performance and they are not taking anything for granted.

He said on Cricket South Africa’s website: “It’s another Test match and we are going to have to prepare the same way that we would for any Test match.

“There is probably more emphasis on this Test match because the pressure will be on us to put in a big performance. We are up for the challenge, it’s a representative game for your country so you have to take it seriously.”

Duminy believes victory, which would be South Africa’s seventh in eight Tests against Zimbabwe, will represent a job well done for Hashim Amla’s side regardless of its nature.

The 30-year-old Cape Town native added: “It’s an international game, once you take your foot off the gas Mother Cricket finds you out very quickly.

“We are not going to try and win this Test match in three days. If we win the match in the last session of the last day it will still be a job well done.

“That is the mindset that we have to try and have; focusing on each session and each day, we can’t look too far ahead.

“You have to respect each and every team that you play against. We respect Zimbabwe and by no means are we taking this game lightly, we have to make sure that we put in our best performance.”

Zimbabwe, playing their first Test since their 24-run victory against Pakistan last September and their first against South Africa since 2005, are hampered by illness and injury.

Sikandar Raza will miss the match after fracturing a thumb, while Prosper Utseya’s participation is in doubt after a bout of chicken pox.

One player who could feature for the hosts is Mark Vermeulen, who has not played Test cricket for a decade. The 35-year-old batsman, who admitted burning down Zimbabwe’s cricket academy in 2006 but was acquitted on the grounds of mental illness, last played for his country in 2009 in a one-day international against South Africa.

Captain Brendan Taylor, who was in the Zimbabwe side that was beaten by an innings and 62 runs the last time they faced the Proteas in the five-day format, goes into the match in a confident mood - even if the odds are not stacked in his side’s favour.

He said: “We will perform better than we did in Centurion (Pretoria) a decade ago. We will definitely give a good account of ourselves.”

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