Wet outfield delays play

2012-10-19 00:00

PLAY finally got underway in the Sunfoil four-day clash between the Dolphins and Cobras at Pietermaritzburg Oval yesterday at 11.50 am, after the first session of the day was lost due to a wet and damp outfield.

Despite the day dawning with sun and blue skies, the previous night’s heavy storm and rainfall, which according to groundsman Jannie Vermaak, deposited 31mm of rain on the ground, put paid to any play starting on time.

Dolphins skipper Daryn Smit won the toss and had no hesitation batting first, a decision which had him scratching his head in the pavilion as he saw his top order in ruins at 30/4 after 12 overs. “It looked a great strip to bat on and, baking in the sun for a session, I thought that counted in our favour. If play had started on time and we had won the toss, I would have bowled as early on, it looked as though it could offer something to our attack,” he said.

Rory Kleinveldt, justifying his selection for the Australia tour, was quickly among the wickets, sending back Imraan Khan (5), Jonathan Vandiar (4) and Vaughn van Jaarsveld (3). At the other end, big Vernon Philander accounted for David Miller (2) who again failed to deliver, hooking to fine leg where Kleinveldt took the catch.

The promising Cody Chetty joined opener Divan van Wyk and the pair combined in an undefeated partnership of 91, taking the Dolphins to the afternoon tea break, after a two-and-a-half hour session, on 116/4 after 36 overs. Chetty brought up his fifty from 88 balls (6x4, 1x6) and Van Wyk was not out on 47, a confidence boosting innings after a poor run of form in his openin four-day matches. Soon after tea, he moved to his fifty, cutting Johan Louw past point for four.

Louw had the last laugh though, bowling Chetty for 59 (7x4, 1x6) soon after the 100 partnership had been posted (102) for the fifth wicket, the ball starting to swing a little as the afternoon wore on. As the clouds lifted and the sun shone in all its glory, Van Wyk and Smit dug in, keeping the scoreboard ticking and picking the right balls to dispatch, adding beef to the tally. Van Wyk gained in confidence, unleashing some sublime drives through the covers, being quite severe on spinner Dane Piedt, who failed to have any impact on the batsmen, struggling to find a good length.

As the overs ticked by — there were 69 completed — Smit and Van Wyk put up the shutters, playing out time and leaving the Dolphins on 179/5 at the close, in an unbroken partnership of 51. Van Wyk (82) will want to push on today to three figures, while Smit (19) will want to build on his start. Kleinveldt finished with 3/31, Louw 1/32 and Philander 1/25.

It was a great recovery by the Dolphins and, weather permitting, this should evolve into an interesting contest over the next three days.

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