Ingram century on debut sets up SAfrica victory

Bloemfontein: Colin Ingram’s 124 on debut set up a 64-run win for South Africa over Zimbabwe here in the first of three one-day internationals.

Ingram hit the second highest ever score in an ODI debut to lead South Africa to 351-6 at Bloemfontein on Friday.

Zimbabwe finished on 287-6, with opener Brendan Taylor making 145 not out. Taylor is just the ninth batsman to bat through an entire one-day innings.

Man of the match Ingram hit eight fours and two sixes in his 126-ball effort. Only West Indies great Desmond Haynes’ 148 against Australia in 1978 is a better score by a batsman in his first ODI.

Hashim Amla led off with 110 in South Africa’s first one-dayer of the season and David Miller added 51.

Shingirai Masakadza took 4-86 for a Zimbabwe team that included veteran batsman Grant Flower in his first international match in six years.

South Africa’s bowlers were always in control in Zimbabwe’s reply, with Hamilton Masakadza’s 30 the next highest score after Taylor’s brave unbeaten century. Juan Theron collected 3-62 on his ODI debut for the Proteas. Spinner Johan Botha returned 2-41.

The host takes a 1-0 series lead against its African neighbors having also won both Twenty20 games between the teams last week.

Ingram, who made his international debut in the T20 series, became the highest-scoring South Africa debutant when he passed Shaun Pollock’s 66. The 25-year-old left-hander then became just the sixth batsman to make a hundred on ODI debut. He was dropped by Sean Williams at long-on when he was on 106, and was finally bowled by Masakadza in the 48th over.

Opening the batting, Amla collected his fourth one-day century, stroking 14 fours in a fluent innings before he was run out in a mix-up with Ingram. The pair had built a 136-run partnership for the second wicket after the early loss of captain Graeme Smith for 19.

New ICC one-day player of the year AB de Villiers was also run out, for 21, and Albie Morkel fell for just one. But Ingram and Miller took the Proteas charging toward the highest score at the Bloemfontein ground.

Miller faced just 42 balls, smashing five fours and two sixes before he was bowled by Masakadza one ball after sending a missile-like straight drive past the bowler for his first ODI half-century.

Taylor then hit 12 fours in a career-best innings for Zimbabwe, which came off 136 balls. But he lacked support from his teammates after a 70-run opening partnership with Masakadza was broken by Theron - for his first ODI wicket.

Flower made 13 from 24 balls in his first international innings since a half-century against Bangladesh in Harare in March, 2004.

Now 39, Flower retired six years ago following a dispute between Zimbabwe’s senior players and the country’s cricket board. He returned to his home country last month to take up a role as the national team’s batting coach following a six-year spell with English county side Essex.