It’s always frustrating for the bowling side when the lower-order adds the bulk of the runs to the batting total, but although that’s what the Imperial Lions managed to do at the Wanderers on Tuesday, the Knights remained firmly in charge at the end of the second day of their 4-Day Domestic Series match.
The Lions, replying to the Knights’ first innings of 300, slumped to 47 for five before their lower-order managed to get them to 202 all out, a significant improvement but still a deficit of 98 runs. With the Knights then cruising to 111 for one at stumps, they will go into the penultimate day already leading by 209 runs with nine wickets in hand.
Kagiso Rapulana (44) and Delano Potgieter (40) were the chief architects of the Lions’ recovery, adding 75 for the sixth wicket, and there were then useful contributions from Malusi Siboto (31) and Sisanda Magala (28*).
Left-armer Mbulelo Budaza started the rot with two early wickets, but it was fast bowler Migael Pretorius who once again did the most damage, taking four for 40.
Pretorius had earlier finished on 79 not out as the Knights added nine more runs on the second morning, Magala claiming the last wicket to finish with superb figures of six for 60, just reward for his persistence.
In the Knights second innings, Jonathan Vandiar (53*) and Raynard van Tonder (39*) had already added 82 for the second wicket.
The daily fluctuations in four-day cricket were perfectly captured up the road at SuperSport Park in Centurion where the Titans, having held sway on the opening day against the Warriors, suffered a miserable second day.
It all started on the fourth ball of the day when Aiden Markram, the hero of the first day with his brilliant 149 not out, was caught behind off Marco Jansen without adding to his overnight score.
The Titans were all out an hour before lunch for 320, with left-armer Jansen the pick of the bowlers with three for 69 and Mthiwekhaya Nabe also taking three wickets.
The Warriors batsmen were then served up a regular diet of loose deliveries and their positive approach saw them race along at well over four runs to the over.
Matthew Breetzke feasted with a dozen boundaries in his run-a-ball 53 and captain Yaseen Vallie then rammed home the early dominance with his fluent innings of 80, being particularly strong off his legs.
The Titans fought back with three wickets in the afternoon, but the Warriors ended the day in firm control on 319 for six as Sinethemba Qeshile, who remains unbeaten on a punchy but responsible 67*, and Lesiba Ngoepe, with a free-scoring 52, added 93 for the sixth wicket.
Khaya Zondo highlighted the day’s play in Durban, stroking a fine century and leading the Dolphins to a commanding 389 for eight declared against the Cape Cobras.
Zondo’s impressive knock of 105 off 187 balls included 12 fours and a six, adding 86 for the sixth wicket with Ruan de Swardt (44).
The Cape Cobras were cruising on 71 for one in reply, with Pieter Malan (33*) and Zubayr Hamza (22*) batting well, when stumps was called, bad light bringing play to a premature end with 26 overs still scheduled to be bowled.