SA players star on county scene

2008-06-10 00:00

Cape Town — South Africans are riding high on the averages following the latest round of County Championship four-day fixtures which ended on Monday.

Leicestershire’s HD Ackerman heads the run-scorers in Division Two, with 635 after only nine innings at a weighty 79.37. He is third on the averages, by a whisker from Nicky Boje in fourth — 475 runs for Northamptonshire at 79.16.

But the top-flight has its South African success stories too.

Yorkshire moved to the top of Division One on Monday, replacing Somerset after beating them by 40 runs at Taunton, helped in no small part by Jacques Rudolph’s first innings of 155.

The former Proteas player, who recently extended his Kolpak terms at Headingley to effectively signal a severing of ties with his land of birth, has been generally prolific in early-summer, his 542 runs at 67.75 including three centuries in his six matches. He lies seventh on the averages.

Somerset lost despite Zander de Bruyn’s maiden century (103) in a tense second innings.

Durham captain Dale Benkenstein is fourth on the averages. Although he has played only four Championship matches, his 420 runs have come at 70.00.

A little worryingly from a Proteas perspective, Graeme Smith’s near-certain opening partner at Lord’s, Neil McKenzie, has not caught fire yet for Durham.

McKenzie, so successful on the subcontinent for South Africa recently as a still-rookie convert to opening, has managed only 133 runs in eight knocks at 19.0, although he registered his highest score yet (48) on Monday, as his side agonisingly went down by four runs to Hampshire at the Riverside.

Two South Africans are loftily-placed in bowling terms: Kent’s Ryan McLaren and long-serving Somerset workhorse Charl Willoughby are joint-top wicket-takers in Division One with 26 each.

McLaren averages a particularly striking 17.0 and Willoughby 22.46.

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