Zondo flays the Lions at­tack

Dol­phins on top after a bat­ting mas­ter­class from the right-handed bats­man

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - LUNGANI ZAMA

KHAYA Zondo’s eighth first-class cen­tury, and fifth at fran­chise level, was the rock upon which the Dol­phins built a work­man­like to­tal of 285/6 on day one of their Sun­foil Se­ries en­counter against the Lions in Mar­itzburg.

The in­land venue pro­vided the per­fect set­ting on day one, with the sun blaz­ing all day, and clearly get­ting to some of the Lions’ field­ers, as at least three chances were felled in the slip cor­don.

Zondo, who fin­ished on 105 not out from 236 balls, pep­pered the third-man re­gion through­out his stay at the crease, us­ing con­ven­tional and some­times un­ortho­dox means to do so, but his sec­ond ton of the sea­son proved that there were runs to be made in Mar­itzburg.

The log-lead­ing Dol­phins had won the toss and elected to bat first, but Senu­ran Muthusamy couldn’t kick on from his cen­tury in his last out­ing against the Knights as he per­ished early in the day.

The Dol­phins’ other run-ma­chine from Kim­ber­ley, Vaughn van Jaarsveld, again looked in omi­nous touch as he sped to another half-cen­tury.

But, just as he looked as if he would make it a third cen­tury in Jan­uary alone, the burly left-han­der skied Beu­ran Hen­dricks to mid-on and fell for 53, fol­low­ing Di­van van Wyk (34) falling to a catch down leg-side. It was un­timely be­cause the Dol­phins had taken charge of the first ses­sion be­fore that Hen­dricks’ over.

The Lions def­i­nitely went to lunch the hap­pier lot with four scalps, be­cause Sbonelo Makhanya tamely chipped one to square-leg just be­fore the plates came out. The home side were in need of some ur­gent af­ter­noon re­pairs, and skipper Morné van Wyk (39) pro­vided more than able sup­port for Zondo.

The duo added 102 for the fifth wicket, by which time the Lions’ bowlers were start­ing to wilt in the gi­ant, green wok that the Oval had be­come. After Van Wyk fell to Dwaine Pre­to­rius, he was fol­lowed soon after by Ke­shav Ma­haraj, who was ad­judged leg-be­fore to the same bowler, de­spite a nick that was au­di­ble even to the half-dozy gag­gle of scribes perched in the press box, de­bat­ing the mer­its of all things from De Vil­liers, Messrs Dhoni and Singh, and Eng­land’s abil­ity to crum­ble like a Marie bis­cuit in a cup of tea.

Ma­haraj may find him­self in a hot bev­er­age for tak­ing a long, hard look at his bat as he skulked off, but you couldn’t blame him for want­ing to stick around on a pitch that is slow, and made for con­fi­dence-boost­ing runs.

Zondo, with min­i­mal foot­work but a dev­il­ish eye for any­thing back of a length, cut and pulled his way to promi­nence, and the only ques­tion was whether he would reach three fig­ures be­fore the end of play.

He did just that, and the ap­plause he re­ceived from his team re­it­er­ated what a cru­cial knock he had chalked up for his side. They will look to him to bat deep into day two, and rack up the cru­cial bat­ting points, with one eye on a ta­ble that only they can in­flu­ence this week.

Pre­to­rius, with 3/38, and loan sign­ing Hen­dricks (6/66) were the pick of the vis­it­ing bowlers, on a swel­ter­ing day in Mar­itzburg. TONS OF FUN: Khaya Zondo has been in great form for the Dol­phins this sea­son and he car­ried on yes­ter­day, when he scored 105 against the Lions on day one of their Sun­foil Se­ries clash.

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