Bad light halts first day’s play

2009-03-12 00:00

AT 3.50 pm yesterday, play on the first day of the SuperSport Series clash between the Dolphins and the Cobras at the City Oval was halted by bad light. Sixteen overs were lost, setting a precedent that will likely be repeated throughout the weekend.

The Dolphins are entitled to feel somewhat hard done by, as all of their home games have been scheduled for either very early in the season, or very late.

At such times, the notoriously fast fading light in these parts hardly allows for a full day of cricket, meaning a draw will almost always be the outcome.

In the two and a bit sessions that did transpire yesterday, the Dolphins held sway in the morning session before Henry Davids ( 71*) and Ryan Canning (51*) fought back strongly to end the day on 227 for 6.

The Dolphins, already robbed of the services of Quinton Friend, were dealt a further blow when Johann Louw pulled out at the 11th hour due to a stiff back and he was replaced by Saidi Mlongo.

The attack was led by Yusuf Abdulla, and he got the ball rolling by trapping Alastair Gray in front for three early on.

Stiann van Zyl made a brisk 46 off just 56 balls, but then suddenly feathered an edge to Daryn Smit off Jon Kent.

The Dolphins’ all-rounder was soon celebrating again, after snaring the prize wicket of JP Duminy.

The Protea batsman somehow contrived to spoon an innocuous half-tracker to mid-wicket, where a startled Ugasen Govender gleefully accepted the chance.

Just before lunch, Andrew Puttick attempted a tight second run to fine leg and though Mlongo’s return was a bit wide, Smit’s smart flick was adjudged to have just beaten the clearly aggrieved left-hander.

Abdulla’s double burst straight after the interval really put the Dolphins on top, as he firstly had Justin Ontong smartly snaffled by Hashim Amla at slip before new Proteas cap Imran Khan held on to Vernon Philander’s slash off just his second ball from the burly Abdulla.

“It’s funny, because I thought I bowled better than I ever have against the Lions last week, but only got one wicket,” Abdulla admitted at the close of play.

“But today I got my rewards and hopefully we can use the new ball well in the morning to wrap up the innings,” he added.

At 122 for 6, the Cobras were perilously close to being rolled over on a slow, but ultimately flat deck.

Cue Davids and Canning, who both played responsibly in compiling a much-needed stand of 105.

The nuggety Canning, in particular, was very positive against the spin of Smit and the Dolphins will be eager to break the partnership first thing this morning.

“If we had got just one more wicket after lunch, we could have been batting already,” the Dolphins playing affairs manager, Jay Naidoo, reflected last night.

The new ball, immediately due, will be crucial especially with the slightly earlier start.

Abdulla and the bustling Govender will be hard pressed to make early inroads, so as to allow the likes of Amla and Khan to make hay while the sun sticks around at the City Oval.

Play will start earlier, at 9 am, in a bid to make up some of the time lost. For those who meander in for some cricket, the bar will be open all day.

DOLPHINS VS COBRAS SCOREBOARD

Scoreboard at close of play on day one in the four-day SuperSport Series match between the Dolphins and the Cobras in Pietermaritzburg yesterday.

Toss: Cobras

Cobras first innings

A Gray lbw Abdulla 3

A Puttick run out (Mlongo/ Smit) 36

S van Zyl c Smit b Kent 46

JP Duminy c Govender b Kent 0

J Ontong c H Amla b Abdulla 11

H Davids not out 71

V Philander c Khan b Abdulla 0

R Canning not out 51

Extras 9

Total 227

Fall of wickets: 1-7, 2-76, 3-80, 4-92, 5-122, 6-122

Bowling: Govender 13-5-30-0 (1 w), Abdulla 13-5-38-3 (2w), Mlongo 13-7-17-0, Kent 11-3-37-2, Smit 21-3-69-0, A. Amla 4-0-11-0, Khan 1-0-6-0, Delport 4-0-13-0.

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