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Ken Borland

Tidy stand between Hamza & Van Buuren ends the day well for Lions 0

Posted on December 21, 2023 by Ken

Zubayr Hamza could afford to be all smiles after the second day at the Wanderers.

A tidy unbeaten partnership of 82 for the fourth wicket between Zubayr Hamza and Mitchell van Buuren ensured the Central Gauteng Lions ended the second day of their CSA 4-Day Domestic Series match against the KZN Inland Tuskers on a much better note at the Wanderers on Thursday.

The slick batting of Hamza and Van Buuren took the Lions to 125 for three at stumps, bringing some stability on what had been a tough, weather-shortened day for the home side.

The Tuskers began the day on 252 for six, and they managed to make it to 345 all out, a useful score at the Wanderers. Number eight Malcom Nofal was the dominant figure in the morning as he stroked 71 off 102 balls, piling on the frustration for the Lions as he added 52 for the seventh wicket with Cameron Shekleton (24) and then 34 for the ninth wicket with Alindile Mhletywa (20).

A two-hour thundershower interrupted the mopping up of the visitors’ innings, spinner Bjorn Fortuin doing the job and finishing with impressive figures of 35-11-65-3. Pacemen Duanne Olivier and Tshepo Moreki also took three wickets apiece.

The Lions then came out to bat with the pitch undoubtedly spruced up by all the moisture and its time under the covers, and they immediately found themselves locked in a tense battle with the fired-up Tuskers new-ball pair of Keith Dudgeon and Thando Ntini.

The hosts were reduced to 16 for two at tea as Josh Richards was caught behind off Ntini for seven and fellow opener Mohamed Manack, on debut, was trapped lbw by Dudgeon for 2.

Ryan Rickelton briefly broke out of his cell with a run-a-ball 20 before he was also trapped in front by Dudgeon, leaving the Lions in danger on 37 for three.

Van Buuren initially batted like a bollard in defying the KZN Inland bowlers, but he then made short work of any loose bowling as he cruised to 37 not out off 71 balls.

Hamza, his strokes thick with class, was able to post his 15th franchise half-century, coming off just 68 deliveries, shortly before the close, which came after the second of two delays for bad light, with seven fours.

Elgar goes from pumping up the tyres of his team-mates to telling them it’s time to make amends 0

Posted on October 11, 2023 by Ken

Proteas captain Dean Elgar has spent much of the series pumping up the tyres of his team-mates, telling them how good they are, but now that Australia have won the rubber, he said on Tuesday, on the eve of the third and final Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground, that it was time for the team to make amends.

Well-beaten in both Brisbane and Melbourne, Elgar has made it clear that there is still much to play for and he expects his team to do everything in their power to restore some pride.

“There’s nowhere to hide in Test cricket and the top five need to find a way to execute their batting disciplines,” Elgar said. “Whatever we do in terms of selection, hopefully we provide a better spectacle than in the first two games.

“There’s also a lot for us still to play for – the World Test Championship final is a massive incentive – and we should be playing every Test like it is our last.

“But talk is cheap, we need to go out and perform and really make amends. It’s very frustrating because these are really talented players, but it just hasn’t gone our way.

“We want to go home with a lot of pride restored and so there’s still a lot to play for, as well as our position in the World Test Championship. It’s about how we rise up to the challenge and grasp the opportunity,” Elgar said.

Cynics would say whatever changes South Africa make to their XI will be like putting mag wheels on a skedonk. But the Proteas have to make at least one change due to Theunis de Bruyn returning home for the birth of his daughter.

“The only options in our squad in terms of batsmen are Rassie van der Dussen and Heinrich Klaasen,” Elgar confirmed. “Rassie has played for an extended period at Test level so he’s more experienced, while Heinrich is immensely talented and maybe deserves an extended chance.”

South Africa could well make a second change, bringing in a second spinner – Simon Harmer – but Elgar intimated that the off-spinner would have to replace another bowler.

“We need to have another look at the pitch, but Simon is definitely in the mix because Sydney has been low and slow, with a bit or turn, recently, so that might force our hand,” the captain said.

“But Keshav Maharaj is still our number one spinner and I’m still a 6/5 fan, that’s what I’m thinking. But all options are on the table, although playing seven batsmen makes it a massive ask for the bowlers.

“They’ve had a big workload, especially in the last Test when they racked up big numbers of overs. So it’s a big ask to have just four bowlers, especially only three seamers,” Elgar said.

Warner motors to commanding century as SA bowlers keep chugging in 0

Posted on August 01, 2023 by Ken

David Warner was able to motor to a commanding century as Australia reached 231 for two at tea against a South African attack that kept chugging in without much luck on the second day of the second Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Tuesday.

Warner celebrated the considerable milestone of making a century in his 100th Test, becoming just the 11th player to achieve this landmark, but arguably more important to him was that it was his first hundred in nearly three years.

Together with Steven Smith, he ensured that Australia were already 42 runs ahead on first innings, with eight wickets in hand. Warner had reached 135 not out off 207 balls at tea, while Smith stuck to his task well against plenty of testing bowling as he reached the break on 60 not out off 129 deliveries.

Although the only wicket South Africa had claimed on Tuesday came through a run out, the Proteas bowlers generally stuck to their task well. Anrich Nortje was especially impressive, running in tirelessly and delivering 150km/h thunderbolts, and he troubled the left-handed Warner in particular, several inside-edges narrowly avoiding the stumps.

Left-armer Marco Jansen was also probing and he had Smith dropped on nine, gloving a hook down the leg-side, wicketkeeper Kyle Verreynne spilling a tough, diving chance.

Australia had resumed on 45 for one in pursuit of South Africa’s poor first innings of just 189, and made a bright start as Warner and Marnus Labuschagne took their stand to 54.

Warner had been particularly busy and intense, always looking for the extra run. His enthusiasm proved to be Labuschagne’s downfall, however, as he called his partner through for a second run on an overthrow, but the South African had run through the crease scampering what was a quick single in the first place, and, after trying to send Warner back, Labuschagne was run out at the bowler’s end for 14.

Keshav Maharaj had thrown the ball to Nortje, who had done well to transfer the throw on to the stumps from a couple of metres away.

But Warner and Smith have since added 156. This Australian batting line-up spares nobody when they get the bit between their teeth, and on a lovely batting pitch on a sweltering day in Melbourne, South Africa’s bowlers are once again in for plenty of toil after another dismal failure by their batsmen.

Proteas have much to ponder ahead of 2nd T20 v India 0

Posted on December 02, 2022 by Ken

The Proteas have much to ponder ahead of the second T20 against India in Guwahati on Sunday, following their dismal batting performance in the first match that saw their top-order utterly fail, sinking to 9-5.

While the fight shown by Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram and Wayne Parnell with the bat was pleasing, setting a target of just 107 for victory was never going to give India much pause for thought, even on a pitch which was made to look like a minefield by the South African top-order.

While there are some injury doubts over wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock after he needed on-field treatment for a blow to the fingers while trying to take a leg-side wide from fast bowler Anrich Nortje, whether the formerly prolific left-hander should be in the team even if fit is also starting to cause debate.

De Kock has scored just 137 runs in his last 12 T20 innings for the Proteas, and is striking at just 103.78.

Amongst all the other worries about the batting, the loss of form of their talismanic opener is the last thing the Proteas need.

While the South Africans were still trying to digest their batting display, Indian spearhead Jasprit Bumrah received the awful news that he probably has a stress fracture of the back and has been withdrawn from the series and is likely to miss the T20 World Cup.

The fact that the Proteas were reduced to 9-5 by India’s second-choice new-ball pairing of Arshdeep Singh and Deepak Chahar, with Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar not even playing, makes their batting effort even more terrible.

With their captain, Temba Bavuma, under immense pressure to score runs, they have now got themselves into a pickle with the skipper getting a duck in the first match. Interestingly, Bavuma has actually scored 237 runs in his last 12 T20 innings for South Africa, at a strike-rate of 111.26.

So De Kock, with a hundred runs less and an inferior run-rate, should certainly be in the conversation when it comes to changes. It would be an awfully big step for the selectors to make, but it is a shocking waste of form to see the prolific Reeza Hendricks not playing.

But bringing in Hendricks for De Kock would necessitate another change with Heinrich Klaasen needing to come in and keep wicket, unless the gloves are entrusted to Tristan Stubbs, who is very much a part-timer.

It’s a dreadful mess the selectors have got themselves into.

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