Dolphins make bright start

2009-12-11 00:00

THE KZN Dolphins held the upper hand after the first day of their Supersport Series clash against the Warriors at Kingsmead yesterday.

From the moment Imraan Khan won the toss and inserted the visitors on a gloomy day in Durban, the Dolphins were always ahead in proceedings.

The decision to bowl had much to do with a pitch that had sweated overnight, and it took only three balls for Johann Louw to dismiss Michael Smith and start the ball rolling, so to speak.

Louw was exemplary in his control and, along with a fired-up Quinton Friend, he was the Dolphins main source of danger throughout the day’s play.

The Warriors, without several stars due to national commitments, faced an uphill battle all day, and it was only the obdurate Colin Ingram who stuck around to take the fight to the Dolphins pack of bowlers.

Ingram, in an innings of true grit, battled for nearly six hours before he fell just seven short of what would have been the most deserving of first-class centuries.

While others around him fell by the wayside, he navigated his way through 214 balls in a bid to put up a decent score.

The Dolphins themselves were rewarded for a consistent display with the ball, with Friend and Louw both snaring two wickets.

Bradley Barnes, in for the suspended Hashim Amla, showed his worth with two fine catches in the field before taking over the wicket-keeping duties from Daryn Smit during the afternoon session.

Graham Ford had said that Barnes’ hybridity would be to the Dolphins advantage, and his presence behind the stumps certainly gave peace of mind to both captain and coach during Smit’s legspin spell.

The Dolphins had earlier called up the promising Khaya Zondo to replace Loots Bosman in the starting line-up.

Bosman, who has enjoyed a fine start to his new career on the coast, has been struggling to shake off a knee injury, and was deemed unable to see out the four days this week.

Zondo, who was one of three Dolphins’ starlets who went to the National Academy during the off-season, has been in steady form for the KZN Coastals side, and his call-up is in keeping with Ford’s policy of blooding those youngsters who show promise.

Bosman, with an eye to the looming limited-overs segment of the season, will be looking to recover in time for the Dolphins match next week, but will also be eager to make a full recovery ahead of what will be a hectic festive season for the team.

As welcome as his match-winning century in the Dolphins’ last Supersport Series outing was, the bludgeoning former Free State Eagles star was recruited to provide the fireworks when the lights go on at Kingsmead.

For his own national ambitions, and the Dolphins fate in the Pro20 and MTN Championships, he will be eager to bounce back as soon as possible.

Today, Khan’s charges will hope to run through the rest of the Warriors’ batting card, especially the dangerous Johan Botha — who is still at the crease on 55 — before doing their bit on a pitch that should be at its best for batting today.

That will be no easy task though, when one considers that the Warriors can call on the bowling services of Botha and the ever-improving Lonwabo Tsotsobe.

Scoreboard at the stumps

Toss: Dolphins

Warriors first innings

M Smith b Louw6

J Smuts c Barnes b Kent9

C Ingram c Kent b Friend93

A Jacobs c Barnes b Friend21

J Kreusch c&b Louw18

C Thyssen c Smit b Kent7

J Botha not out55

D Brown not out0

Extras (4lb, 1w, 3nb)8

Total (for 6 wickets, 83.4overs)217

Fall of wickets: 1-6, 2-30, 3-64, 4-111, 5-134, 6-217

Bowling: Louw 17-7-39-2, Friend, 17.4-1-48-2 (3nb, 1w), Kent 15-4-47-2, Abdullah 14-2-27-0, Smit 15-2-46-0, Delport 3-1-6-0.

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