Cobras come out with venom against Dolphins

2015-03-28 00:00

AS in seasons past, the Cobras have spat, bitten and attacked the Dolphins at the City Oval in Pietermaritzburg, holding a commanding 393-run first innings lead at the end of day two of the Sunfoil four-day match.

Having earlier dismissed the Cobras for a massive 597 in the morning session before lunch, the Dolphins were wobbling on 204-7 when bad light forced the players from the field just on 4.30 pm with 15 overs remaining in the day, the players having come off for close to an hour at 2.55 pm earlier in the day.

Starting the day in a commanding position on 440-4, the Cobras put the Dolphin bowlers to the sword, piling on the agony and swinging the willow with meaning and purpose as they added 157 runs and had the Dolphins batting before lunch.

Cobras skipper Justin Ontong perished for 166, adding 16 to his overnight 150, but the session belonged to Justin Kemp, who showed his pedigree in a display of brutal yet elegant hitting. Starting the day on 57, he clubbed his way to 143 from 150 balls, with 18 fours and six maximums. This was his 16th first class hundred and he took a liking to spinner Keshav Maharaj, smashing him for 21 in an over and helping the Cobras score 41 in four overs. He was eventually eighth man out with the score on 575.

All the while, leg-spinner Daryn Smit plugged away and was rewarded with his third five-wicket haul in first class cricket, finishing with 5-75 in 20.3 overs at an economy rate of 3.65.

Going in before lunch, the Dolphins were more than relieved to walk off for the break, having faced 4.1 overs to reach 17-2. The Cobras bowlers, who had sat with their feet up for the whole of the first day on Thursday, came out with venom and purpose, at times looking as though they were bowling on a different pitch to the one that had brutalised and terrorised the Dolphins.

Divan van Wyk (6) and Imraan Khan (7) could take their time over their lunchtime meal and soon afterwards the Dolphins sank further into the mire. This was when Daniel Sincuba (1) tried to hook a ball that crashed into his pads not much above his ankle and Cody Chetty departed for four. Between them, the top four batsmen had scored 18 runs and at 40-4 it was a matter of how much of a dent, if any, the Dolphins would make in the Cobras total.

Khaya Zondo has stood tall, ending the day on 90*, but even he has still had to deal with the odd ball keeping low or spitting off a length. Morné van Wyk (22) and Ryan McLaren (10) were undone by balls that unexpectedly climbed on them, while Smit (23) edged a ball from Dane Paterson that was in the channel and moved away.

For the Dolphins, spinners Maharaaj (4-168) and Smit accounted for nine of the Cobras wickets, while the Cobras have their seven wickets shared between speedsters Paterson (3-58) and Beuran Hendricks (4-33).

Today, Zondo will want to continue to well beyond 100, something the Dolphins will need if they are to be a threat in the game and at the other end. Maharaj, on 28, is also capable of sticking around. Application and gently knocking off as many runs as possible will be the order of the day for the Dolphins.

“It’s like the pitch has been moved and it’s a totally different beast,” said Dolphins coach Lance Klusener.

“For us now, it’s about trying to get some bonus points to stay in second place on the log.”

Currently, the Cobras have 9,62 points and the Dolphins two.

Play starts at 9 am today and entry is free.

Scores in Brief (End of Day Two)

Cobras 597 (Ontong 166, Kemp 143; Smit 5-75, Maharaj 4-168)

Dolphins 204-7 (Zondo 90*; Hendricks 4-33, Paterson 3-58)

Dolphins are 393 runs behind with three first inning wickets remaining.

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