Sunfoil Series

Lions roar on opening day

2014-09-25 20:19
Stephen Cook (Gallo Images)

Johannesburg - Stephen Cook and Temba Bavuma, with a second-wicket partnership of 116, put the Highveld Lions in the pound seats on the first-day of their Sunfoil Series match against the Titans at the Wanderers on Thursday.

When the umpires called a halt to the proceedings, the Lions were on 271 for five with Thami Tsolekile and Devon Conway on 19 and seven respectively.

The Lions, who won the toss, opted to bat, and Cook and Rassie van der Dussen got the ball rolling with an opening stand of 58.

It was Marchant de Lange who made the breakthrough, trapping Van der Dussen in the crease for a 73-ball 37 in an innings which contained eight fours.

Cook (31) and Bavuma (16) took the Lions to lunch on 84 for one. After lunch, the bowlers toiled long and hard under a hot sun to no avail, with Bavuma taking full advantage of a weakening attack to reach his 14th first-class half-century with a beautiful drive through the covers.

He had faced 79 deliveries and found the ropes on nine occasions.

At the other end, Cook was his normal obdurate self, needing 148 balls to reach his 42nd first-class half-century.

Cook's 265-minute sojourn at the crease ended abruptly when he was trapped in front by Shaun von Berg for 56.

Bavuma's innings was not without a touch of luck -- he was dropped on 53 by Qaasim Adams off Roeloff van der Merwe.

The batsman was at times imperious. Therefore, the manner of his dismissal after a stay of three hours was all the more surprising, with Bavuma failing to spot the googly from Von Berg and playing on.

Dominic Hendricks, going for a non-existent run, found himself short of the crease as Heino Kuhn whipped the bails off.

Quinton de Kock looked to be in control, reaching his 50 off 60 balls, with nine boundaries, but his innings came to an abrupt halt when he was bowled neck-and-crop by De Lange.

Five overs later the umpires took the players off for bad light.

In Bloemfontein, a 98-run ninth-wicket partnership between Corne Dry and Quinton Friend helped the Knights to avoid being bowled out for an embarrassing total in their domestic four-day match against the Warriors on Thursday.

The Knights were all out for 140, but could not have reached this total without the efforts of the tailenders.

The pair got together in the middle with the Knights in huge trouble at 32 for eight in the 19th over.

But Dry (51) and Friend (51) both provided stern resistance in the face of a rampaging Warriors' attack.

Chief destroyer for the Warriors was Basheeru-Deen Walters with figures of 3/44 from his nine overs. Walters was ably assisted by Andrew Birch, who picked up two for 47 in 13 overs, and Wayne Parnell, who returned figures of two for 32 from his 13 overs.

There were no fewer than five ducks among the Knights batsmen, with Gihahn Cloete, Rilee Rossouw, wicketkeeper Rudi Second, Werner Coetsee and Malusi Siboto all falling without scoring.

In response, the Warriors also found themselves in difficulty early at 34 for four.

At the close of play, the Warriors were 136 for nine after 41 overs --trailing the Knights by four runs with one wicket standing.

After top-order batsman Colin Ingram departed for 24, the Warriors' total was bolstered somewhat by an unbeaten last-wicket partnership between Birch (21 not out) and Walters (28 not out). The partnership has contributed 48 runs so far.

Dry was the destroyer-in-chief for the Knights, picking up five Warriors' scalps for 43 runs in 12 overs.


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