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Zim opt to bat first

Proteas

Harare – Zimbabwe handed debuts to two players and welcomed Mark Vermeulen back to the fold as their one-off Test against South Africa got under way on Saturday.

Captain Brendan Taylor won the toss and elected to bat first on a dry-looking pitch, and confirmed that offspinner John Nyumbu and fast bowler Donald Tiripano had earned new caps.

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MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 29: Warm up balls are seen during day four of the Fourth Ashes Test Match between Australia and England at Melbourne Cricket Ground on December 29, 2013 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

Tiripano and Nyumbu were the joint top wicket-takers in Zimbabwe's first-class competition last season, while Vermeulen was the second highest run-scorer.

Vermeulen last played a Test in May 2004, and returns to the side almost eight years after burning down the national academy.

The 35-year-old was acquitted of arson charges related to the crime due to mental illness.

Meanwhile, South Africa gave an international debut to offspinner Dane Piedt, who came in for Imran Tahir.

Teams

Zimbabwe: Brendan Taylor (capt), Vusi Sibanda, Hamilton Masakadza, Mark Vermeulen, Regis Chakabva, Sean Williams, Richmond Mutumbami, Tinashe Panyangara, Tendai Chatara, John Nyumbu, Donald Tiripano

South Africa: Hashim Amla (capt), Dean Elgar, Alviro Petersen, Faf du Plessis, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Quinton de Kock, Vernon Philander, Dale Steyn, Dane Piedt, Morne Morkel

Umpires: Aleem Dar (PAK) and Chris Gaffaney (NZL)

TV umpire: Jeremiah Matibiri (ZIM)

Match referee: Roshan Mahanama (SRI) – Sapa-AFP

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