Tough first day for Dolphins

2012-01-13 00:00

WITH the Nashua Mobile Cape Cobras winning the toss it was always going to be a tough day at the office for the Dolphins on day one of this SuperSport Series match at a sweltering Maritzburg Oval yesterday and so it proved as the Cape Town-based franchise racked up a patient 311 for four at the close.

“It was very tough out there, but we expected that, with the toss not going our way,” said Dolphins wicketkeeper/batsman and vice-captain Darren Smit. “Still, the guys worked hard and there wasn’t much that we let slip.”

On a pitch that had what life there was in it sucked out by the unrelenting heat over the last few days, the 24-year-old Cobras left-hander Stiaan van Zyl was the star of the show, playing beautifully straight in notching his ninth first-class century.

“Stiaan batted very well, if you look at his wagon wheel he scored a lot of runs straight,” said Smit. “On a wicket like this you are never going to score quickly, so he knuckled down.”

Batting with care, Van Zyl faced 206 deliveries and stroked 15 boundaries in scoring 110. He shared in an 87-run second-wicket partnership with opening batsman Yaseen Vallie (71) and a 126-run association for the third wicket with Justin Ontong (60).

For Dolphins debutant and opening bowler Brandon Scullard it was not the sort of pitch you dream of getting in your first game at this level.

Robbie Frylinck, bowling off-spin, was the Dolphins’ standout performer, toiling tirelessly from the Dusi End.

“Robbie was fantastic, bowling with very good control,” said Smit. “His long spell enabled us to operate our seamers from the other end.”

Indeed, all-rounder Frylinck’s ability to bowl seam up or off-spin is reminiscent of Smit himself in the days when the keeper used to take off the gloves and bowl leg-spin during an innings. It’s like having an extra player in the team.

The Dolphins take the second new ball right from the 9 am start today and with the heat and humidity expected to continue, the covers may well have sweated a bit.

“With more juice in the pitch we might be able to get one or two early wickets and get into the batters at the back end,” Smit said.

The new coffee shop situated in the old Oval Tavern is a pleasant place to be on a summer’s day and there should be further fine cricket to savour on days two, three and four.

SCOREBOARD

Cobras first innings

A Puttick b Frylinck 16

M Vallie c Van Wyk b Frylinck 71

S van Zyl lbw b Frylinck 110

J Ontong c Miller b Zondo 60

R Levi not out 19

J Kemp not out 24

Extras (b1, lb5, w2, nb3) 11

Total (4 wickets; 96 overs) 311

Fall of wickets: 1-50, 2-137, 3-264, 4-264

Bowling: Scullard 15-1-73-0, Shezi 16-2-49-0, Abbott 16-4-33-0, Frylinck 43-6-122-3, Zondo 6-0-28-1.

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