Divan sets the tone

2015-02-27 00:00

DOLPHINS opener Divan van Wyk passed the war of attrition test on the first day of the four-day clash against the Knights at Kingsmead yesterday, carrying his bat for an undefeated 109 as his side ended on 240-3 after 96 overs. It was his 16th first class century.

It was hard toil for the Free Staters who were asked to field after Dolphins skipper Morné van Wyk had the luck of the coin on what looked a good batting wicket.

The Dolphins team saw Khaya Zondo slot in at three and Daryn Smit at five, while pace bowler Calvin Savage was a late replacement for Graham Hume who pulled up with a hamstring niggle at practice on Wednesday. Surprisingly, in-form middle-order stalwart Vaughn van Jaarsveld was left out.

Imraan Khan and Divan van Wyk saw the Dolphins off to a slow but steady start, putting on 76 for the first wicket, Khan the aggressor before he popped a catch to Pite van Biljon at cover, off the spin of Knights captain Werner Coetsee, for 48, which included nine fours.

It had taken 27.4 overs to get the breakthrough and the next wicket came soon after (28.5 overs), Zondo missing a straight one from the tireless Quinton Friend for a duck. Cody Chetty looked enterprising in his 21, just getting into his stride and hitting four boundaries, before edging Shadley van Schalwyk to Reeza Hendricks at slip, the Dolphins 3-105 after 44.5 overs.

That was all the success the Knights enjoyed as Smit joined Van Wyk in an undefeated fourth wicket partnership of 135. Smit, who took half-an-hour and 18 balls to get off the mark was the perfect partner for Van Wyk, growing in confidence, despite being peppered with numerous short balls from the ever competitive Friend. Smit was struck on the back of the neck at the Wanderers last week and Friend was keen to exploit a possible weakness to the short-pitched stuff.

However, Smit stood tall, undefeated on 60 at the end of the day, his second successive 50. Van Wyk, who has established a reputation for digging in and grafting for long hours at the wicket, reached his hundred in 367 minutes from 257 balls, with 12 fours. The pair answered the wish of Dolphins coach Lance Klusener who had lamented during the week that his batsmen needed to push through once they had dug in, got a start and done the hard work at the crease.

The Knights used six bowlers — Friend, Coetsee and Van Schalkwyk the wicket-takers.

“It was a slow pitch and a bit ­two-paced early on,” said Divan van Wyk. “I found it difficult to hit through the line as the ball came on slowly. I never felt in until about six overs before tea when I played some shots and tried to pick up the pace a little.”

Van Wyk added the Dolphins would like to consolidate and pile up a solid first innings score.

“We would like to bat once in this match and with wickets in hand we can see where we are at lunch today. The Knights have the most disciplined attack in the competition and we have to wear them out,” he said.

Play starts at 9 am today and entry is free.

Scores in brief

Dolphins 240/3 (96 overs)

Van Wyk 109 (not out), Smit 60 (not out), Khan 48.

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