Cape Town - South Africa 'A' produced an array of solid partnerships to take full advantage of winning the toss and batting first on the opening day of the first unofficial four-day Test match against India 'A' at Wayarad on Tuesday.
The visitors finished the day on 293/4 in the 88 overs that were possible following partnerships of 60 for the first wicket between Reeza Hendricks and Stiaan van Zyl, 40 for the second between Hendricks and Theunis de Bruyn, 57 for the third between De Bruyn and Omphile Ramela and then the really decisive one of 136 for the fourth in only 39.5 overs between Ramela and Stiaan van Zyl.
Ramela played by far the most significant innings of his representative career, going to his fifth first-class century, before being dismissed shortly before the close of play for 112 off 197 balls with 12 fours and 3 sixes. Achieving a strike rate of more than 56 in what was his maiden first-class innings on the sub-continent is no mean achievement.
His career has gone from strength to strength since he became a regular fixture in the Cape Cobras line-up. In the Sunfoil Series he was the fifth leading runs scorer with more than 700 runs at an average of 48, including back-to-back centuries against the Warriors and The Unlimited Titans, one of which was his maiden double century.
As for Bavuma his career is also going from strength to strength. He averaged more than 100 in both of South Africa A’s previous four-day series against Australia A, and the England Lions. More recently he took the attack to Bangladesh in the first test match to make top score when most of his colleagues were struggling. Today he finished unbeaten on 55 (117 balls, 5 fours) and will continue the South African innings tomorrow in partnership with night watchman Dane Piedt.
The most successful of the Indian bowlers was Axar Patel who returned figures of 2/52 in 24 overs.
It was easily the best day of South Africa A’s tour to date and suggests that it would have helped to have started with the first-class component of the tour rather than the limited overs series.