SA A debutantes shine in Paarl

2015-01-12 08:53
Theunis de Bruyn (Gallo Images)

Paarl - Gihahn Cloete and Theunis de Bruyn took centre stage on debut for South Africa A on the opening day of the first four-day unofficial Test match against the England Lions at Boland Park on Sunday.

After South Africa had won the toss their third-wicket partnership of 150 in only 157 minutes was the dominant feature of the day's play.

Cloete made his sixth first-class century and De Bruyn his second with the latter carrying on after the demise of his partner to take the total past 300 and give the home side a commanding 379 for 4 at the close.

Cloete (123 off 221 balls, 16 fours and a six) initially shared a partnership of 122 for the first wicket with Stiaan van Zyl, taking up his new position of opening batsman, to set the platform for the rest of the day.

England, who had generally bowled slightly too short in the morning on a grassy pitch, looked as though they might get back into the game when Liam Plunkett dismissed both Van Zyl (65 off 105 balls, 8 fours) and Andrew Puttick.

However, Cloete and De Bruyn then resumed control as the home side scored 63 for the loss of two wickets off 14 overs in the hour after lunch.

England managed to pick up a couple of wickets in the final session but not the important one of De Bruyn (126 off 156 balls, 22 fours), who shared an unbroken partnership of 61 in only 10 overs with Rudi Second, also on debut.

Cloete has a record in domestic cricket of being able to bat for long periods and he looks temperamentally strong as well.

His century was the sixth of his first-class career (186 balls, 13 fours and a six) and was brought up in the grand manner when he drove Plunkett to the cover boundary.

As for De Bruyn, it is less than a year since he made his first-class debut and played his 10th game in the longer format.

His half-century came off only 66 balls (8 fours) which was way above the average scoring rate for this venue.

De Bruyn and Cloete used to be room-mates in the South African Under-19 squad.

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