Cobras’ strikeforce pitches up
Cape side grab five wickets after home side dominate early
THE CAPE Cobras would have left the ground last night reasonably happy with their efforts after an afternoon that initially featured some drama over whether the match would have started at all following a malfunction with the covers, that left a wet spot on the pitch.
Morning rain had already washed out the first session, but the sun shone brightly after noon, although play couldn’t get under way because the ground staff were battling to dry out an area of the pitch just outside the left-hander’s off-stump at the West Lane End of the ground.
The concern for the match officials was that in the bowlers’ follow through they may further damage the surface and while there wasn’t a risk of physical danger, it would be very unfair on the side that will bat last, which will be the Cobras.
The Titans had won the toss shortly before the morning showers, and chose to bat, but even though they are desperate to push for a result having already had one game completely rained out this season, they too had concerns over how the pitch and the damaged area could play.
As it was the match officials and the two captains had some animated discussions and the Cobras skipper, Dane Piedt agreed that his side would play and at 2.50pm the teams took to the field.
At no point during the two and half hours of play was there any discomfort for any of the batsmen from the damaged area, while the Cobras’ seam bowlers, including Rory Kleinveldt, did no damage to the spot either in their follow throughs.
In fact, the going was initially very comfortable for the Titans openers, Dean Elgar and Aiden Markram.
The Proteas Test star was in sparkling form against some charitable bowling from the visitors with Lizaad Williams, in particular, struggling for rhythm from the Hennops River End.
Elgar, fresh off a Man of the Series display against Sri Lanka, played fluently, taking advantage of balls pitched on his legs, which he clipped through the on-side and when the Cobras drifted wide of his off-stump he nailed them square of the wicket in the point region.
Markram was initially happy to let Elgar dominate, but then used up a lot of balls himself, displaying some solid defence in the process. Together the pair put on 86 and for much of their partnership the scoring rate was comfortably above five runs an over.
The Cobras eventually sorted out their lines and lengths thanks to Jason Smith and Tshepo Moreki but even so the dismissals of the two openers came as a surprise. Elgar top edged an attempted pull, providing Williams with a comfortable catch at midwicket.
The left-hand opener was rightly furious with himself for wasting the opportunity to register something far more substantial than the 43 with which he ended.
Elgar was still chastising himself when Markram was dismissed off Moreki’s next delivery, edging to Smith at second slip for 32.
The Cobras bowlers were able to assert themselves thereafter and Williams returned to dismiss Henry Davids for 10, thanks to an inside edge onto the Titans skipper’s stumps.
The umpires called stumps when the dark clouds returned just after 5pm, with the Cobras certainly the happier team.
Heino Kuhn on eight and Grant Mokoena on five will resume for the Titans this morning.
In Bloemfontein the Knights ended the first day of their clash with the Warriors on 360/5.
JUMPING FOR JOY: David Warner celebrates reaching his hundred for Australia against Pakistan at the Adelaide Oval yesterday. Warner scored 179 as the home team romped to victory.