Honours even after day one in Durban
Kyle Abbott led a productive first day in the field for the Sunfoil Dolphins before the bizhub Highveld Lions fought back to leave their Sunfoil Series clash evenly poised at Sahara Stadium Kingsmead in Durban on Thursday.
After winning the toss and bowling first, the visitors were restricted to just 248 with Abbott (4-59) the pick of the bowlers.
Calvin Savage (3-59) and Craig Alexander (3-65) were also among the wickets, while Zander de Bruyn (68) and Brett Pelser (66) were the mainstays for the Johannesburg outfit.
The two shared a crucial 120-run stand, most of which came in a wicketless afternoon period, with the bowlers dominating the other two sessions.
The Lions then removed openers Divan van Wyk (18) and Imraan Khan (22) to leave the Dolphins on 47 for two by the close.
The day had begun with Stephen Cook and Quinton de Kock sharing 38 during a jittery opening stand.
The captain’s hesitant knock ended when he played loosely at a probing Savage delivery and edged behind to Jonathan Vandiar at first slip for 11.
Temba Bavuma was in next and he helped take the Lions past 50 in the 16th over, before the Lions lost a second wicket shortly after drinks.
De Kock (36) was the man to go as he was surprised by an Alexander lifter and played tamely to Van Wyk at mid-wicket.
Abbott then returned to the attack and had a brilliant Vaughn van Jaarsveld catch at second slip to thank for his first wicket – the fielder throwing himself to his right to snap a flying edge off Neil McKenzie (two).
In his next over, Bavuma’s attempted flick was edged down the leg side to Daryn Smit for 29.
And the Lions were in further trouble when Gulam Bodi picked up a hamstring injury and had to retire hurt after just one ball.
Having left alone a delivery from Abbott, he stepped out of his crease and Smit tried to throw down the stumps, prompting a reaction from the batsman, who was injured in the process of attempting to get back.
De Bruyn and Pelser then knuckled down after lunch, first taking their side pass 100 in the 31st over as the tempo began to rise.
They put on 50 in no time, their stand raised in a mere 47 balls, with the 150 following in the 42nd over.
Allrounder Pelser reached his 15th first-class 50 in just 61 balls when he carved Alexander through the covers for four.
Their 100 stand came in 130 balls followed by De Bruyn’s 76th first-class half century in a more sedate 97 balls as the visitors reached tea on 199 for four.
But the tables turned once again after they returned when Pelser was removed straight after the 200 was raised.
Vandiar was the man to take all the credit for the dismissal after he flung himself to his left and clung on a superb two-handed catch at gully off Abbott.
Debutant Dieter Klein and Imran Tahir both followed for ducks, before Bodi hobbled to the crease.
However, he lasted just eight more deliveries before making a mess of a pull, which was skied to Savage running in from fine leg for two.
Pumelela Matshikwe frustrated the hosts for half-an-hour as he struck a brisk 22, only to be eventually bowled by Salvage, before De Bruyn was last man out – the last six wickets falling for just 49 runs.
Van Wyk and Khan then began briskly, but their 37-run partnership broke when the former chopped on from Ethan O’Reilly (1-1), before the latter edged Tahir (1-9) to De Kock leaving honours even.
SUNFOIL DOLPHINS: Imraan Khan, Divan van Wyk, Jonathan Vandiar, Vaughn van Jaarsveld, Cody Chetty, Khaya Zondo, Daryn Smit (capt & wkt), Kyle Abbott, Mthokozisi Shezi, Craig Alexander, Calvin Savage.
BIZHUB HIGHVELD LIONS: Stephen Cook (capt), Gulam Bodi , Quinton de Kock (wk), Neil McKenzie, Temba Bavuma, Zander de Bruyn, Brett Pelser, Dieter Klein, Imran Tahir, Ethan O’Reilly, Pumelela Matshikwe.