The Star Early Edition - - FRONT PAGE - CRICKET REPORTER

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.

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