VERNON, KG SNUFF OUT SRI LANKA CHALLENGE
STILL five weeks short of his 19th birthday, the Highveld Lions’ Wiaan Mulder,
pictured, produced another illustration of why his cricketing future will reach the highest level by producing an innings that gave the Lions a small foothold in their Sunfoil Series match against the Cape Cobras in Oudtshoorn yesterday.
The Lions only scored 126 in their first innings after being asked to bat at the Recreation Ground in the Klein Karoo town with Wayne Parnell possibly putting himself in the frame for a starting spot in next week’s third Test against Sri Lanka by claiming 4/26 in 18.3 overs.
And, while Parnell’s efforts will bring joy in the short term, it is the maturity of Mulder’s efforts that will have the powers-that-be smiling as they think about the next decade for South African cricket. Mulder has already notched up a franchise century this season and claimed 18 wickets in just four matches for the Lions.
Yesterday he showed another element to his game, in trying to hold together an innings, which had been dismantled by a Cobras attack, no doubt fuelled by the presence of a new coach in Ashwell Prince and in the case of Parnell, desperate to make an impression ahead of next week’s Wanderers Test.
Mulder finished unbeaten on 31, but it was the time he spent at the crease – 12 minutes shy of three hours and the number of balls he faced, 119 – that suggested a young player who understands the value of his wicket combined with the fighting credentials to put his side in a position from which they can try to put the Cobras under pressure.
Sadly, there was not enough discipline or fight shown by Mulder’s Lions teammates. Dwaine Pretorius was the top scorer with 35 – an innings that lasted 96 minutes – in a dreary batting display by the visiting team. The Cobras ended the day on 19/1, a deficit of 107 runs.
Parnell was the outstanding performer for the Cobras but there was support from young all-rounder Jason Smith (2/8) and new skipper Dane Piedt who claimed 2/32 in 14 overs.
*In Bloemfontein no play was possible between the Titans and Knights because of rain. Meanwhile in Durban, Daryn Pollock reports that the Warriors still appeared to be in T20 mode as they were bundled out for 231 runs on day one at Kingsmead by the Dolphins.
Winning the toss and electing to field on a day that progressively got warmer and drier, after a wet night, the Dolphins bowlers got to work on a stubborn opening partnership between Gionne Koopman and Edward Moore that put on a stand of 47 before the latter was caught off the bowling of Mthokozisi Shezi.
One of the Proteas’ newest stars, on his return from Injury, Andile Phehlukwayo was also in on the action early as he accounted for the other opener, adjudged lbw. Phehlukwayo’s return to action saw him net two wickets, the other being Somila Seyibokwe in the middle order who was bowled for 54, having provided some much-needed resistance.
With an attack heavily dependent on seam, with Shezi, Phehlukwayo, Robbie Frylinck and Calvin Savage, it was opening batsman and left-arm orthodox spinner Senuran Muthusamy, who did the most damage to Warriors, taking apart the lower middle order and also removing the dangerous Colin Ackerman who was eventually caught behind after amassing 81 off 156 balls.
The Dolphins will begin day two with a decent start having negotiated a tricky late afternoon session. The captain’s brother, Divan van Wyk, is on 25 off 34 balls with the star of the bowling attack Muthusamy on 10 off 32. Conditions are expected to worsen on day two with rain in the forecast.