Lions in commanding position
Neil McKenzie (Gallo Images)
Wanderers - The Highveld Lions got off to a great start on day one of their fourth match of the SuperSport Series, reaching 391 for five at stumps against the Nashua Dolphins at the Wanderers on Thursday.
On a day where temperatures exceeded 30 degrees, it was a curious decision by Dolphins' captain Imraan Khan to bowl first.
He probably felt the pitch would do something in the first hour and cause the Lions' batsmen problems, but this did not happen.
The Lions got off to a solid opening partnership with Stephen Cook and Alviro Petersen.
Petersen was out first, attempting an ambitious cut shot off Dolphins' seamer Mthokozisi Shezi in his first over, with the score on 41.
Cook, who struggled, departed for 10 shortly after, with the score on 55.
Jonathan Vandiar looked good for his brief knock of 22, before Imraan Tahir trapped him leg before in his second over.
The fall of the third wicket, with the score on 85, brought together Neil McKenzie and Vaughn van Jaarsveld. They played cautiously until lunch as they sought to consolidate the innings.
After lunch, the pair upped the scoring rate with some aggressive batting, taking the innings run rate over four runs an over.
Van Jaarsveld was particularly harsh on the Dolphins' attack, with English international Ravi Bopara bearing the brunt of the left-hander's assault.
Van Jaarsveld raced to his century off just 111 deliveries, showcasing his strong strokeplay on the leg side.
The pair put on a partnership of 217, before Van Jaarsveld was dismissed for 126 off the bowling of Shezi, who picked up his second wicket in the process.
McKenzie continued punishing the Dolphins' attack when he was joined by Zander De Bruyn.
McKenzie reached his century off 160 deliveries with the score on 309/4.
The veteran Lions' pair continued the home team's assault and brought up their 50 partnership off just 73 balls.
However, their partnership was broken on 82, off 146 deliveries, when Kyle Abbott bowled De Bruyn for 40 after he inexplicably did not offer a shot.
The Lions reached stumps at 391 for five with nightwatchman Dayle Deeb not out on three and Mckenzie not out on 141.