Par­nell leads Co­bras to first Se­ries vic­tory

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - CRICKET RE­PORTER

WAYNE Par­nell bashed on the door of the na­tional se­lec­tors and vir­tu­ally de­manded they pick him to start the fi­nal Test against Sri Lanka at the Wan­der­ers by pro­duc­ing a thun­der­ous dis­play of his all­round skills to help the Cape Co­bras win their first match in this sea­son’s Sun­foil Se­ries.

Par­nell will be up against the Knights’ Duanne Olivier in a bat­tle for a start­ing po­si­tion in the third Test that starts on Thurs­day but while Olivier was kick­ing his heels in Bloem­fontein after the Knights’ match against the Ti­tans was called off due to rain, Par­nell was tak­ing wick­ets and scor­ing runs to in­spire the Co­bras to a first win un­der the coach­ing tute­lage of Ash­well Prince.

Par­nell fin­ished on 103 not out as the Co­bras suc­cess­fully chased down 237 – fin­ish­ing 239/4 – to win the match, played at the Re­cre­ation Ground in Oudt­shoorn, by six wick­ets.

The home team had dom­i­nated from the mo­ment they sent the Lions into bat last Thurs­day and bowled them out for 126. After fac­ing a 147-run deficit on the first in­nings, the Lions fought back man­fully over the week­end, and en­sured they had a tar­get to bowl at in the fi­nal in­nings of the match.

But the Co­bras shifted Par­nell up to open the in­nings with Om­phile Ramela and as he has done of­ten in the past to the Lions the 27 year old played a stun­ning hand to de­cide match’s out­come.

The Lions’ lower or­der played su­perbly to stretch their ad­van­tage be­yond the 200-run mark in what had been a largely dis­mal show­ing by them with the bat. Re­sum­ing on 247/7, Wi­aan Mul­der and Bjorn For­tuin added an­other 26 runs in 11 overs in the first hour be­fore the teenage all-rounder was trapped lbw by Dane Pater­son for 25.

At that stage the Lions lead was just 126 runs, but a stand of 79 for the ninth wicket be­tween For­tuin and Har­dus Viljoen not only frus­trated the Co­bras but gave the Lions hope as their lead be­came some­thing for them to bowl at in the last in­nings.

For­tuin pro­duced an­other il­lus­tra­tion of his men­tal for­ti­tude mak­ing 72 off 179 balls in an in­nings that lasted more than four hours.

Viljoen scored 46 off 84 balls that in­cluded a six and six fours. For the Co­bras, Par­nell, Pater­son, Dane Piedt and Ja­son Smith each took two wick­ets, with Par­nell’s sec­ond in­nings ef­forts en­sur­ing he fin­ished with match fig­ures of 6/98 from 46.3 overs.

Then came his per­for­mance with the bat as ini­tially in com­bi­na­tion with Ramela the pair blasted the Lions open­ing bowlers.

De­spite los­ing Ramela for 36 in the 15th over, Par­nell, in part­ner­ship with Sti­aan Van Zyl en­sured the Co­bras main­tained the mo­men­tum. The pair shared a stand of 125 for the sec­ond wicket, scor­ing at com­fort­ably more than five runs an over as they rapidly pulled the Co­bras to­wards vic­tory.

A brief col­lapse with the end in sight – the Co­bras lost three wick­ets in­clud­ing Van Zyl (64) for just 22 runs – made things in­ter­est­ing, but Par­nell stayed calm and went to his sec­ond first class cen­tury with a bound­ary off Mul­der that also sealed the much­needed vic­tory for the Co­bras.

In Dur­ban the clash be­tween the Dol­phins and War­riors drifted out to a draw after fur­ther de­lays ham­pered their clash at Kingsmead yes­ter­day.

With only 49 overs pos­si­ble on day two and no play at all on Satur­day all due to rain, a wet out­field held up pro­ceed­ings on the fi­nal morn­ing.

Lunch was even­tu­ally taken early and play re­duced to 69 overs for the day, although only 40 of those were pos­si­ble as the hosts pushed on from 243/2 to 361/4 in that pe­riod.

Vaughn van Jaarsveld was even­tu­ally dis­missed for 154 (204 balls, 14 fours, 5 sixes) and shared in a 116-run third-wicket part­ner­ship with Cody Chetty (46) in what was the high­light of the day.

Both men even­tu­ally fell to Basheer Wal­ters (2/91) within two overs of each other as Khaya Zondo and Morne van Wyk (both 16 not out) bat­ted out the re­main­der of play.

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