Zondo flays the Lions attack
Dolphins on top after a batting masterclass from the right-handed batsman
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.