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Ken Borland

Party for the bowlers, gloom for Titans batsmen

Posted on February 24, 2014 by Ken

Bowlers continued to have a party on a lively Wanderers pitch yesterday as 11 wickets fell on the second day of the Sunfoil Series match, but the poor efforts of the Unlimited Titans batsmen has left them facing the gloomiest of prospects in terms of the match situation against the Highveld Lions.

The Titans staggered to 62 for five in their second innings at stumps, still three runs behind with only five wickets in hand.

The Titans began their second innings 65 runs in arrears after a reasonable bowling performance, but their batsmen were deep in trouble again almost from the outset as Heino Kuhn was run out by the swift Dominic Hendricks for just a single.

The poor footwork that seems like an epidemic in their top-order then saw Cobus Pienaar trapped leg-before by Lonwabo Tsotsobe for 11 and when left-arm swing bowler Cliffe Deacon picked up two wickets in three balls, removing Francois le Clus (12) and Henry Davids (0), the Titans were deep in the mire.

Brett Pelser is no more than medium-pace but is posing a huge threat to the flatfooted Titans batsmen as shown by his figures of four for 28 in the first innings, and he struck in his second over yesterday, taking a fine return catch as Qaasim Adams (5) punched firmly down the ground.

Farhaan Behardien is still at the crease on 28 not out and is due some runs, while Mangaliso Mosehle, averaging just 16.28 in the Sunfoil Series this season, is on one not out.

The Titans lower-order is going to have to produce something spectacular for the visitors to post a threatening target for the Lions, even though the pitch is one on which batsmen never feel in.

While the Titans batsmen are being regularly rolled over – as a unit they have collected just one century and 15 fifties in 69 innings this season – their bowlers continue to make progress and they did well to dismiss the Lions for 212 an hour after lunch.

Although the pressure on the batsmen was periodically being released by a loose delivery, the Titans attack restricted the Lions to a lead that should have been manageable given that the home side is going to have to bat last on a pitch of uneven bounce.

The Lions resumed on 109 for four and although Thami Tsolekile was quickly removed by David Wiese for 7, the Titans were held up by veteran Neil McKenzie and all-rounder Pelser, who added 57 in two hours.

The Lions held the initiative on 173 for five at lunch, but two balls into the second session, McKenzie (48) pushed firmly at a Wiese delivery that shaped away and wicketkeeper Mosehle claimed the catch.

Pelser was sent on his way for 35 in the next over, edging CJ de Villiers into the slips, and Wiese and leg-spinner Shaun von Berg then wrapped up the tail.

Wiese was the best Titans bowler on show, taking three for 46 in 22 overs, while 19-year-old left-armer Vincent Moore suggested that he can be a bowler to rely on in the future with three for 41.

But the Titans were on the back foot just three overs into their second innings as Kuhn pushed Tsotsobe away on the off side and hesitated over a single, fatally as Hendricks was on target with his throw.

Deacon and Tsotsobe then blew away the rest of the top-order to have the Titans on their knees heading into the third day.


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