Boucher puts Cobras on top
Cape Town - Mark Boucher handed a timely boost to South Africa’s selectors with a fine century that helped the Nashua Mobile Cape Cobras end day three of their SuperSport Series match against the Chevrolet Knights on 515 for eight in Cape Town on Saturday.
The veteran Proteas wicketkeeper, who has experienced a lean patch with the bat recently, fell three short of his career-best first-class score as he struck 131 off 209 deliveries at Sahara Park Newlands.
JP Duminy also reached three figures with his first century of the season as he ended on 104 off 202, while bowler Johann Louw was unbeaten on 96 off 131 -- the Cobras leading by 170 on first innings scores at the close.
Ryan McLaren, who hardly bowled on day two due to injury, was the pick of the bowlers after finishing with three for 75.
But there is no doubt that Boucher’s innings would allow the selectors to breathe a little easier after he struck 17 fours and looked a lot more solid on his way to a best batting performance of the summer.
He was in the middle for a little over two sessions, starting out with Duminy alongside him as the Cobras began on 118 for three.
The two took their partnership to 50 from 122 deliveries, with Duminy going to his half-century in 133 balls.
The century stand was then raised in 204 deliveries as the Knights looked short of ideas with the Cobras getting to 200 in the 70th over.
No breakthrough was forthcoming and Boucher went to his 50 in 101 balls when he pushed Werner Coetsee into the leg side for a single.
Just before the break, Duminy crashed Michael Erlank over mid-off to raise his ton in 198 balls -- the diminutive Proteas star reaching his first 100 on his home ground since 2004 -- with the hosts 98 behind on 247 for three.
Duminy fell with his first ball after lunch when he was trapped leg before wicket with the new ball by Quinton Friend, but Dane Vilas smashed a quick-fire 44 off 43 balls to take the Cobras past 300 in the 91st over.
He put on 62 with Boucher in just 11.2 overs, before skying a short ball from McLaren to Friend in the deep.
Boucher reached his 10th career first-class hundred in 170 balls with a quick single to mid-wicket off Malusi Siboto.
McLaren then claimed two wickets in an over when he trapped Justin Kemp (five) and Vernon Philander (nought) lbw off successive balls in the 99th over to leave the Cobras on 347 for seven.
But Louw kept out the hat-trick ball and then helped Boucher take the hosts to tea in control on 382 for seven.
After the interval, 18 more were added before Boucher walked across and was bowled by Friend.
But Louw went to 50 in 78 balls and began to play more strokes thereafter as the Cobras went to 450 in the 127th over.
His partner Johannes Bothma (23 not out) was providing good support and the pair added an unbroken 115 for the ninth wicket that took the hosts to the close with a strong lead.