Green wicket pays off for Dolphins

2013-02-01 00:00

DOLPHINS coach Lance Klusener’s gamble for a green wicket paid handsome dividends at Kingsmead yesterday on the first day of the four-day Sunfoil Series clash against the Warriors, as the visitors were skittled for just 92 in 31.2 overs in a little over two-and-a-half hours.

Calling correctly at the toss, Dolphins skipper Daryn Smit had no hesitation in opting to unleash his pacemen on a green strip which, under overcast conditions with heavy cloud, had to offer something early on.

And so it did. Mthokozisi Shezi in particular ripped into the Warriors top order, having the visitors struggling at 10-3 on his way to finishing with 5-28 in 10.2 overs.

At the other end, the in-form Kyle Abbott added three more scalps to his season’s tally, bagging 3-19 in nine overs.

Craig Alexander took 2-34 in seven overs, and while Calvin Savage went wicketless, he was miserly in conceding eight runs in five overs. Eight of the wickets fell to catches behind the stumps, ‘keeper Smit taking five and Vaughn van Jaarsveld at slip taking three.

Said Shezi: “Everything has gone to plan and it was a great session. The wicket is green and a little slow, but it offered swing when hitting the seam. We have done the job and it’s a case of seeing how much we can get and taking the game further from there.”

Of the Warriors batsmen, only Colin Ingram (15), Wayne Parnell (19), Simon Harmer (11) and Ayabulela Gqamane, last man out with a late and entertaining flurry of 29, reached double figures.

As the day went on, the clouds lifted with Kingsmead bathed in magnificent afternoon sun, just what the Dolphins needed.

Divan van Wyk and Imraan Khan looked far less troubled than the Warriors batsmen, beaten by the odd ball, but nothing alarming.

A first-wicket stand of 58, before Khan departed, caught at slip for 38, set the tone for the Dolphins batsmen to build a match-winning lead. Van Wyk departed just before tea, LBW to spinner Simon Harmer for 26, as the Dolphins reached 87-2, only five adrift, at tea.

Adding to the Warriors’ woes was the loss of strike bowler Andrew Birch, who left the field after bowling five overs with a knee problem, only returning after tea.

All the Dolphins top order batsmen got starts without pushing on to any big scores. Van Jaarsveld scratched around for 21, Jonthan Vandiar chased a wide one to slip for 31 and it was only Cody Chetty (five) who failed, being castled by Gqamane in the next over shortly before the close.

Khaya Zondo (28*) settled well, taking a liking to Harmer and not allowing him to settle and, with night watchman Shezi (1*) saw the Dolphins to 170-5, a lead of 78. Best of the Warriors bowlers was Parnell with 2-27 from 14 overs.

Said Smit: “It was a great toss to win, about time too, and the bowlers produced the goods.

“I am happy for Mthokozisi, who has toiled hard all season without much reward.

“Now it’s time to bat big, etch out a 150-run or more lead and have another go at them.

“We want to chase as few as possible in our second innings and with time not a factor, we can play sensible cricket.”

Play starts today at 9 am.

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