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Thankful Nyumbu Enjoys Five-Wicket Haul

AB de Villiers departs
John Nyumbu says that the wicket of AB de Villiers, caught by Vusi Sibanda, was his favourite during his five-fer
©REUTERS / Action Images

After becoming just the second Zimbabwean to take a five-wicket haul on Test debut after Andy Blignaut, off-spinner John Nyumbu says he is happy enough to represent his country, let alone take five wickets against South Africa.

Nyumbu's five for 157 helped Zimbabwe dismiss South Africa for 397 on day three of the only Test in Harare.

The home side closed 113 runs behind after Hamilton Masakadza was dismissed late on.

"I didn't think about taking a five-fer, it was a privilege just to represent my country, and I'm really glad that things have turned out the way they have," Nyumbu said.

"It has been a rocky road for me, but when everything culminates to this you don't seem to remember what has happened in the past, you just want to stay in the now and be happy for what you have got now."

Nyumbu, 29, was a late arrival to the sport, only taking it up when a team at school was short of players. Called in to an Under-16 side as he was a good slip fielder, some games later he was then only asked to bowl when his captain thought the team was 'dead and buried'.

He recalls that with the opponents needing 10 to win and with five wickets remaining, he was thrown the ball, taking five wickets to win the game for his side.

"My passion for the sport has always kept me motivated. I always hoped that one day my chance would come and I'm very thankful that I managed to to hold on for that long.

"It's been hard. So many people have written me off, close friends and even the cricket fraternity...but I'm really glad that I held on and made it to this stage," he added.

Zimbabwe's first Test in 10 months has seen them push South Africa hard, despite them ceding a 141-run lead on first innings.

Nevertheless, coach Stephen Mangongo is happy with the way his side has performed so far.

"A Test match is full of ups and downs, that's why it's called a Test match, and over these three days I think Zimbabwe have fought well.

"We're still in the hunt thanks to some very good bowling from John Nyumbu, great fielding, and the skipper leading from the front with the bat.

"After 10 months without playing Test cricket, and the fact we are playing number one in the world I think the boys have acquitted themselves well so far."

He revealed that Zimbabwe's game plan was to bat through day four and try to build a lead, as batting last on a wearing pitch could challenge even South Africa's batsmen.

"There are still six specialist batsmen to come and there is still a lot of time in the game. We're looking to bat all day tomorrow, and put up a score.

"The wicket is jumping and turning so it will be interesting to see South Africa batting last, so there is a lot to play for.

"I must give credit to my bowlers as they stuck to their discipline. It wasn't a case of South Africa not batting well, but Zimbabwe bowling well."

While pacers Tinashe Panyangara and Tendai Chatara conceded less than two runs per over, Nyumbu was the undoubted star of the innings, and he revealed which wicket had given him most pleasure.

"AB de Villiers, definitely," he smiled. "I really enjoyed that one - it's an honour to get him out."

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