Co­bras’ strike­force pitches up

Cape side grab five wick­ets af­ter home side dom­i­nate early

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - STU­ART HESS

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.

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