Spin king Tahir wreaks havoc on Titans at surprisingly sunny Kingsmead

2010-10-15 00:00

A SPINNER isn’t really supposed to influence a match on the first day, but clearly no one told the country’s most potent bowler, Imran Tahir, that.

The new Dolphins leg-spinner wreaked havoc on his former side yesterday at Kingsmead, taking 7 for 112 in a spell that must have left the Titans wondering why they let him go so easily.

The more one sees of Tahir, the more exciting the prospect of him adding his considerable talents and energy to the Proteas becomes. December surely can’t come soon enough for Andrew Hudson and his selection team.

Having won the toss and elected to bat in surprisingly sunny conditions, the Titans were bowled out for 242 as the Dolphins continued their encouraging start to the season.

Tahir removed an ominous looking Jacques Rudolph (53), trapped leg before with a top-spinner, and then went about working his way down the visitor’s batting card.

“Rudolph and Gulam Bodi (49) were the most important wickets, because they are very good players of spin,” Tahir said.

Ably assisted by a disciplined pace attack, Tahir showed a refreshing willingness to look for wickets, instead of simply waiting for lapses from the batsmen.

“I believe that as a leg-spinner I must attack, and if I go for a few runs it’s okay because I have a better chance to get some wickets.

“The wicket wasn’t turning too much, so I had to vary the pace a bit. The guys backed me up very well, and they also took some great catches,” he added.

Divan van Wyk gobbled up three chances at short-leg, while captain Imraan Khan held on to a very sharp chance from Farhaan Behardien (31).

Tahir took his wicket tally to 18, and he already looks to be the domestic signing of the season.

He has been like a breath of fresh air at Kingsmead and, along with Kevin Pietersen, has galvanised a relatively young side.

“There is a great atmosphere in the team right now, and I feel very much at home here,” he admitted.

Pietersen played no small part himself yesterday, as he was constantly offering ideas to Khan and the bowlers.

“I have played under some great captains in my career, guys like Michael Vaughan and Shane Warne. So I have been trying to pass on bits and pieces to ‘Immy’ while I am here,” Pietersen explained.

His subtle changes to the field certainly played a hand in the dismissal of Bodi, and Tahir said that the constant advice from the former England captain had been invaluable.

The Dolphins had boldly left out left-arm seamer Mthokozisi Shezi, opting to play Loots Bosman as an extra batsman.

The gamble has paid off, though, and they will now set their sights on racking up one big score.

Ominously, Ethy Mbhalathi almost had Khan out twice in the only over that the Dolphins faced before bad light stopped play.

This morning will be a stern test of the Dolphins’ techniques, with Mbhalathi and the very promising CJ de Villiers running in with a new ball under depressingly grey skies.

• At Newlands, Justin Ontong struck 102 as the Cobras ended day one against the Knights on 290 for five. Ontong received handy support from Richard Levi (64), while Ryan McLaren and Obus Pienaar snared two wickets apiece.

• The third SuperSport Series match between the Warriors and the Lions is yet to start, due to heavy rain in Port Elizabeth.

SCOREBOARD

Toss: Titans

Titans first innings

B Snijman c Tahir b Abbot28

J Rudolph lbw Tahir53

G Bodi c van Wyk b Tahir49

F Behardien c Khan b Tahir31

H Kuhn c van Wyk b Tahir8

H Davids c Pietersen b Tahir22

J Pienaar c Smith b Abbot5

R vd Merwe c Smith b friend10

C de Villiers c van Wyk b Tahir10

G Viljoen st Smith b Tahir24

E Mbhalati not out0

Extras (1lb, 1w)2

TOTAL:242 (all out) -- 77 overs

Fow: 1-66, 2-96, 3-154, 4-170, 5-179, 6-194, 7-206, 8-225

Bowling: Friend 20-8-41-1 (1w), Abbot 17-3-51-2, Kent 14-4-37-0, Tahir 26.5-0-112-7

Dolphins first innings

I Khan not out0

D van Wyk not out0

Extras: (1nb)1

Total (for 0 wkt, 1 over)1

Bowling: E Mbhalati 1-0-1-0

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