Dashing Prince leads run charge

2009-03-20 00:00

LIKE a duck to water, Ashwell Prince dug in and made a massive statement on his return to the Proteas batting line-up.

Resuming on a whirlwind 38, he was the Prince of old; dabbing and driving and lofting effortlessly as he carved out the most impressive of his 11 Test centuries.

Prince’s 150, coupled with a long overdue ton for stand-in skipper Jacques Kallis, saw the hosts pile on the agony for Ricky Ponting’s charges.

“It always feels great contributing to the team’s success and after my big score last week, I felt in great form,” the doughty left-hander said at the close.

He even hinted at an acceptance of his new role as opener, makeshift though he is.

“I was just glad to get back in the side, and I’m hoping to do as well as I can in this new role,” he said.

“I probably played one too many shots early on [on Thursday], but it was nice to make a ton in my return game.”

South Africa lost debutant Imraan Khan (20) early, but scored briskly throughout the day as Prince and Kallis in particular tore into the wrist spin of Bryce McGain.

The Victorian saw his 11 overs smashed for 102, forcing Ponting to rely ever more on his pace trio.

Hashim Amla again started well before giving his lot away, but Kallis and Prince rattled up 160 to take firm control of the match.

The tiresome referral system accounted for Prince, as he appeared to glove a Ben Hilfenhaus delivery down the legside.

Kallis even had the system to thank when reaching his century, as umpire Asad Rauf changed his leg-bye call and gave Kallis the run he needed for his 31st Test century.

Ponting was rightly irritated by the reversal, as the referrals were supposedly brought in for dismissal decisions, and not for random single runs.

As it was, there wasn’t much to please Ponting on a day when his bowlers were put to the sword by South Africa.

Already 195 runs ahead after two days, and with plenty of batting to come, surely only a Cape storm or a bowling catastrophe can deny the Proteas a face-saving victory now.

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