Tahir shines for Lions
Imran Tahir (Gallo Images)
Durban - The Highveld Lions ended the second day of their Sunfoil Series clash against the Dolphins in a dominant position on Friday, 244 runs ahead, after closing on 151/3 in their second innings at Kingsmead.
The Highveld Lions had already bowled out the hosts for just 155, with Proteas discard Imran Tahir helping himself to 5-42, as the Dolphins lost their last four wickets for just 18 runs.
Resuming on 47 for two, the Dolphins were rocked by Ethan O'Reilly's first spell, as he ousted Jonathan Vandiar (15) and Vaughn van Jaarsveld off successive balls. Khaya Zondo (13) then followed, foxed out by a classic leg-break from Tahir, which was caught behind by Quinton de Kock.
Nightwatchman Mthokozisi Shezi (20 off 90 balls) proved a nuisance for over an hour, but he too fell to the guile of Tahir, with Neil McKenzie gobbling up the chance at slip. At 90/6, the Dolphins needed a stand desperately, and skipper Daryn Smit (18) and Cody Chetty (34) duly added a slow 47 for the seventh wicket.
But the Dolphins scored at a pedestrian rate, allowing Tahir to settle into a rhythm, and he was not to be denied after the lunch interval, which the Dolphins had reached on 128/6. After the break, Brett Pelser nipped out Smit, bowled as he bizarrely shouldered arms, and then trapping Chetty on the crease to really set the Dolphins back.
Tahir then returned to bowl Kyle Abbott with a googly, before nabbing Craig Alexander in front with a straighter ball, to bowl the Dolphins out for just 155. That gave the Highveld Lions a handy lead of 93.
They eagerly went about building on that, with Stephen Cook (38) and De Kock (65) rattling along to 60 after 11 overs before tea. De Kock, playing his full range of strokes, was brutal on a stray Alexander, clubbing him over deep square-leg for six.
After the break, De Kock reached a brisk half-century off just 45 balls, before he was smartly stumped by Smit off Van Jaarsveld, who was turned to when the Highveld Lions were running away with matters.
The part-time seamer then got one to jag back to bowl a startled Cook through the gate, and suddenly the Dolphins had some respite from the carnage. Temba Bavuma and Neil McKenzie then added a steady 38 for the third wicket, before Bavuma chipped Shezi to square-leg, where Divan van Wyk held a low catch to end the day on a good note for the home side.
But, with a lead of 244 runs, the Highveld Lions hold all the cards going into the second half of the match.
Imraan Khan, Divan van Wyk, Jonathan Vandiar, Vaughn van Jaarsveld, Khaya Zondo, Cody Chetty, Daryn Smit (wk/captain), Kyle Abbott, Calvin Savage, Craig Alexander, Mthokozisi SheziHighveld Lions:
Temba Bavuma, Stephen Cook (captain), Gulam Bodi, Quinton de Kock, Neil McKenzie, Zander de Bruyn, Pumelela Matshikwe, Dieter Klein, Ethan O'Reilly, Brett Pelser, Imran Tahir