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Ken Borland

Cook amongst the runs again as SA pile up massive lead 0

Posted on December 29, 2016 by Ken


Stephen Cook hit his second successive Test century as South Africa piled up a massive lead on the third day of the first Test against Sri Lanka at St George’s Park in Port Elizabeth on Wednesday.

South Africa finished the day on 351 for five in their second innings and it was enough for them to lead by 432 with two days and five wickets remaining.

Cook was the mainstay of the innings with his 117 off 178 balls and it was an effort that put him in the record books alongside opening partner Dean Elgar, who scored 52 in a first-wicket stand of 116.

It was just the 10th time in Test history that the same opening pair have posted a hundred partnership in both innings of the same match and it is the first time since the famous Timeless Test against England in Durban in 1938/39 that South Africa had a century stand for the first wicket in both innings.

“It was great to bat with Dean for a period of time and nice to dovetail that we both got runs for the first time. If we can get a partnership going up front then it helps the team a lot and opening the batting is always about forging that partnership and the only way to do that is by spending time out in the middle.

“Australia was very tough and I went through some hardships there, but the hundred in Adelaide made me a bit more relaxed. Coming off a century you feel better about the way things are going and I was able to make a few little adjustments to my technique over the last three weeks and bed them down,” Cook said.

It was a wonderful day from beginning to end for the Proteas, with Vernon Philander striking with the first ball of the day as he had Sri Lankan top-scorer Dhananjaya de Silva (43) caught behind with a peach of a delivery, the first of two wickets in the opening over as the tourists were bowled out for 205, a first-innings deficit of 81.

Philander finished with five for 45 in 20 excellent overs, his 11th five-wicket haul in 38 Tests, while Kyle Abbott provided great support with three for 63 in 21.5 overs.

After Cook and Elgar’s 137-minute opening stand, interrupted twice by rain, Hashim Amla struck a fluent 48 off 53 balls, before he was trapped leg-before by Nuwan Pradeep, the 10 000th lbw dismissal in Test history.

JP Duminy (25) and Temba Bavuma (8) were both dismissed by off-spinner De Silva, but the finishing touches to a thoroughly dominant day for South Africa were applied by captain Faf du Plessis (41*) and Quinton de Kock (42*), who had added a brisk 74 in less than an hour by stumps.

Elgar stars but not enough to prevent Dolphins being favourites 0

Posted on January 01, 2016 by Ken

Dean Elgar was the star of the third day of the Sunfoil Series match between the Unlimited Titans and the Dolphins at SuperSport Park in Centurion on Saturday, but his heroic century was not enough to prevent the visitors going into the final day as favourites.

Elgar scored a defiant 122 that carried the Titans to 261 all out in their second innings, but that leaves the Dolphins with just 177 to score on the final day for a win that would keep their title hopes alive but will all but eliminate the North-Eastern Gauteng side from contention.

The national opener and fellow left-hander Qaasim Adams added 138 for the fifth wicket and seemed to have given the Titans a good chance of setting the Dolphins a daunting target on a pitch that is offering both steep bounce from a length and some deliveries keeping low.

But the lanky Calvin Savage ended Adams’ brilliant counter-attacking 72 when he had him caught behind in the eighth over after tea and then added the important scalp of David Wiese, also caught by wicketkeeper Morne van Wyk, for a duck.

Mangaliso Mosehle also failed to score, Mathew Pillans bowling him fourth ball, and left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj trapped Marchant de Lange lbw for six.

The Dolphins pacemen are all tall, strong lads who hit the deck hard, which is ideal for a pitch with inconsistent bounce, but it was leg-spinner Daryn Smit who eventually removed Elgar, trapping him lbw after a 343-minute stay that just proved the mental strength of the 27-year-old.

*The bizhub Highveld Lions, who lead the competition by 17.24 points with two rounds left after this weekend, are in a strong position heading into the final day of their match against the Chevrolet Knights in Bloemfontein.

The Knights are 76 without loss in their second innings, but they still trail by 117 runs after the Lions scored 441 in their first innings.

The Lions were unable to separate openers Gihahn Cloete (33*) and Reeza Hendricks (38*) in the 27 overs before stumps, but the Knights will nevertheless be up against it in trying to survive against the attack that has earned the most bowling bonus points this season.

The Lions total was built around a punchy century by Neil McKenzie (108), with Thami Tsolekile scoring 48 as they took their fifth-wicket partnership to 85, before off-spinner Werner Coetsee (five for 78) and paceman Duanne Olivier (four for 94) counter-punched for the Knights.

*In Cape Town, Omphile Ramela celebrated his 27th birthday by batting for 403 minutes and posting his first Sunfoil Series century, his monumental 129 leading the Nashua Cape Cobras to 545 all out against the Chevrolet Warriors.

The visitors are in serious trouble with a first-innings deficit of 257, but openers David White (20*) and Michael Price (58*) played with a gravitas suiting the situation as they took the Warriors to 88 without loss at stumps.

Justin Ontong (82) and Justin Kemp (73) were the other main run-getters for the Cobras on the third day.

Ford unable to keep up with dazzling Fisher Jnr 0

Posted on October 29, 2015 by Ken

Overnight leader Matt Ford was unable to keep up with a dazzling Trevor Fisher Junior, who shot a superb nine-under-par 63, on the third day of the Africa Open at East London Golf Club on Saturday.

Fisher Junior’s magnificent round, which featured seven birdies and an eagle, saw him finish the penultimate round on 16-under-par.

Ford posted a solid three-under-par 69 to go into the final round on 14-under, while the Englishman was joined in contention for the co-sanctioned title by South African Jaco van Zyl, who shot a 68 and is on 12-under-par.

The other golfers in the top six after the second round faded, with John Parry shooting a 69 to be 10-under, Mark Tullo posting a 70 to be on nine-under and South African Erik van Rooyen slipped all the way back to six-under after a 74.

Fisher Junior tied for third in the 2012 Joburg Open and for fourth in the 2010 Africa Open, and has five other top-10 finishes in co-sanctioned events, but he says he has learnt how to win after he overtook George Coetzee to win the Investec Cup last year and claim the R3.5 million bonus pool.

“You learn from every experience, but the Investec Cup was invaluable and I now know how to handle the pressure of trying to win on the final day. It’s about managing your game, where to be and where not to be. But you also have to hit the ball well and putt well,” Fisher Junior said.

While Fisher Junior was rolling in putts from everywhere – including an extraordinary 65-foot effort for birdie on the 13th – his compatriot, Van Zyl, was nonplussed by the greens. Despite playing beautifully from tee to green, he could only collect three birdies and an eagle.

“I got off to a flying start, but then I battled to see the lines from 13 on. I was rolling the ball nicely and I gave myself lots of opportunities, but I was always wondering about the lines. Anyway, I’m really enjoying being in the mix,” Van Zyl said.

Van Zyl’s only bogey came on the ninth hole when he missed a short putt for par, while Ford made his mistakes on the par-four eighth and 13th holes.

Ford was three-under-par for his round and comfortably holding on to the lead when he stepped on to the eighth tee and took on the short dogleg to the right. The Englishman put his second into the bunker, went over the green with his third, was short of the putting surface with his fourth, on for five and then putted for double-bogey.

But the man who finally won his European Tour card on his 10th visit to Qualifying School is still on track for a maiden title.

“It was a roller-coaster round, there were quite a few emotions and I’m a bit drained now,” Ford said after his round. “I would have taken three-under at the beginning of the round and there were more good shots than bad. Like a swan, it might look calm on the outside, but the feet are going mad underneath. But I try not to get too involved in the emotional side because you can’t play good golf with too much emotion,” Ford said.

Fisher Junior has led before going into the final round of a co-sanctioned event but failed to seal the deal, but he said he now has a fresh perspective and golf is no longer a daily grind for the 35-year-old.

“Whatever happens tomorrow, I’m going to have a smile on my face. When you’re younger, you tend to try too hard, but now that I’m more mature I realise that it’s just a game and I’m lucky to be playing it. Having kids also gives you a whole new perspective, and I’m just going to enjoy the view tomorrow,” Fisher Junior said.

Ford, who would have been delivering mail as a postman if he hadn’t finally gained his tour card last November, is similarly philosophical heading into the biggest day of his career.

“Tomorrow is going to be a lot of learning. What I’ve learnt today will hopefully put me in good stead for the final round,” the mellow 36-year-old said.

SA dig deep to remain in control 0

Posted on March 03, 2015 by Ken

South Africa had to dig deep into their stores of reserve players and patience, but they still ended the third day of the first Sunfoil Test against the West Indies in firm control at SuperSport Park in Centurion on Friday.

Having ended the West Indies first innings on 201 shortly after tea, they had reduced the tourists to 76 for two in their follow-on by stumps, still trailing by 275 runs.

South Africa captain Hashim Amla may be rueing his decision to enforce the follow-on, however, given the spate of injuries that left him with four substitute fielders and only two pace bowlers.

The hosts began the day two down with Faf du Plessis taken to hospital to have abdominal pains and fever looked at – a conclusive diagnosis is yet to be made according to Dr Mohammed Moosajee, the team manager – and Quinton de Kock rolling his ankle in the warm-up.

Dale Steyn then bowled five balls in the West Indies second innings before leaving the field with “tightness in the groin” and when Vernon Philander exited with a troublesome hamstring, Northerns cricketer Sean Phillips had to come on and join Temba Bavuma and Robin Peterson, with Tshwane University of Technology star Danie Rossouw following on to the big stage soon afterwards. Bowling coach Allan Donald had his whites on for much of the day but unfortunately for the festive crowd, didn’t make an appearance on the field.

“It’s been a challenging day. The guys haven’t played Test cricket for four months and the outfield is unusually thick because of all the rain,” Moosajee explained.

Stiaan van Zyl, who made a memorable debut with the bat, may never bowl as many as 10 overs again in his Test career, doing a tidy job with some medium-pace swing.

Philander bowled three maidens up front before going off, claiming the wicket of Devon Smith for five. The South Africans had initially appealed for lbw, but Smith was given out caught as umpire Aleem Dar spotted a little inside-edge on to the pad and Bavuma was alert at point, rushing in to take the catch.

Kraigg Braithwaite (20) fell just over an hour later, edging a drive at Morne Morkel to second slip where, although Alviro Petersen was not able to take the catch cleanly, he completed a spectacular dismissal by snapping up the rebound inches from the ground as he tumbled over.

South Africa were not able to make any further breakthroughs before stumps as Leon Johnson (33*) and Marlon Samuels (13*) dug in against part-timers Van Zyl and Dean Elgar.

There was no lack of application from the top-order in the West Indies first innings, with the top four all getting past 30, but not being able to push on.

“It was very frustrating for the first four to all get 30s but nobody carried on. It’s something we need to sort out in the second innings. If you’re there for a period of time and you get in and then get yourself out, then it points to a mental lapse,” Johnson admitted.

Some credit, however, must go to the South African bowlers, especially Philander, who finished with four for 29 in 15 excellent overs. His stock delivery seemed to be the one pitching on off stump and darting off the seam, making him extremely difficult to play.

“The pitch is quite slow, so you have to be tight with your lines and lengths. It’s about game plans and staying patient,” Philander said.

Morkel bowled some typically fearsome deliveries on his way to three for 55 in 15.2 overs and his dismissal of Marlon Samuels, jagging a delivery back from around the wicket to bowl him off the inside-edge for 33 was particularly impressive.

There was some controversy as well with Smith (35) and Jermaine Blackwood (12) both falling to contentious decisions by TV umpire Paul Reiffel.

There was definitely some doubt – whatever flimsy spike Snicko showed – that Smith had edged his pull at Philander in the 22nd over and on-field umpire Billy Bowden’s decision should never have been overturned. It was a crucial moment as openers Smith and Braithwaite (34) had drawn the teeth of the fearsome South African pace attack in an opening stand of 72.

Blackwood fell to what turned out to be the catch of the day by Petersen, who dived forward in front of first slip Amla to claim a dipping edge after the batsman had played with soft hands at yet another Philander off-stump special.

Even with the usual problems of camera foreshortening, there seemed a hint of the ball touching the ground just before Petersen could get his fingers underneath it, but the history of Reiffel shooting down West Indians continued.

The ball of the day was Philander’s dismissal of Shivnarine Chanderpaul, the rock of the West Indian batting.

The left-hander had been in for 89 minutes, scoring 21 when he pushed forward to a delivery that pitched on off stump and then moved away, the safe hands of Petersen diving low at second slip ensuring the edge was punished.

The up-and-down nature of the fourth-day pitch and the prospect of a revitalized, rested South African attack means the prospects of the West Indians taking this Test into the final day are obviously not good.

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