Harare - Dane Piedt recorded the best figures by a South African spinner on his debut as the tourists wrapped up a nine-wicket win over Zimbabwe in the one-off Test at Harare Sports Club on Tuesday.
Piedt's four for 62 in the second innings helped bowl Zimbabwe out for 181 midway through the final session of day four, before South Africa's top three knocked off the 41 runs required for victory.
It also gave Piedt match figures of eight for 162, which eclipsed the seven for 189 taken by leg spinner Ian Smith on his debut against England in 1947.
“He bowled exceptionally well. The wicket did turn and offered a lot of assistance to the spinners, but he bowled brilliantly,” South Africa captain Hashim Amla said.
“I never want to put any pressure on a youngster coming into South African cricket because I know how difficult it can be, but he's got a promising future ahead.”
Zimbabwe had begun the fourth day on 28 for one, still trailing by 113 runs, and only lost nightwatchman Donald Tiripano in the first session for the addition of 52 runs.
However, Dale Steyn trapped Mark Vermeulen lbw in the fifth over after lunch, sparking a procession in which the hosts fell from 98 for two to 124 for seven.
While Piedt caught and bowled opener Vusi Sibanda for 45 and also grabbed the prized wicket of Brendan Taylor, Morne Morkel bowled Regis Chakabva and then had Sean Williams brilliantly caught at backward point by JP Duminy.
Although Richmond Mutumbami led an entertaining counter-attack that saw Zimbabwe level the scores shortly before the tea interval, Steyn returned to have the wicketkeeper caught behind for 43 and end the home side's resistance.
Steyn finished with match figures of eight for 84 as Zimbabwe were bowled out for 181 in their second innings, leaving South Africa with plenty of time to wrap up the match with a day to spare.
Although Dean Elgar fell with two runs required for victory, Alviro Petersen and Faf du Plessis finished the game off.
“We've had to adapt a lot and play smart cricket to get the job done, and I think we've done that really convincingly,” said Amla.
“Winning in four days is as big a victory as you get on this type of surface.”