Stephen Cook scored 188 runs in the first innings for the Lions to give his team the upper hand against the Warriors in Port Elizabeth.
After rain washed out the rest of the day’s play just after lunch on Tuesday, Cook resumed his innings this morning on 48 not out with the Lions sitting precariously on 105-2, still facing a 240-run deficit to the Warriors with only eight wickets in hand.
Captain Themba Bavuma (35 off 41 balls) didn’t last long as he edged a bouncer from Anrich Nortje to the keeper. Rassie van der Dussen then joined Cook at the crease and smashed a quickfire half-century at a strike rate of 104.16 – including 10 fours – before Nortje struck again, trapping him in front of the wickets on 50 off just 47 balls.
It was the 199-run fifth-wicket partnership between wicketkeeper-batsman Nicky van den Bergh (113 off 135 balls, 19 fours) and Cook – who spent 466 minutes at the crease and finished with a mammoth 188 runs off 310 balls (25 fours, one six) – that took the game away from the Warriors. The two took the Lions into the lead at a blistering pace before Nortje returned and struck once more, ending with 4-104 in 27 overs.
The Lions declared on 470-6 and promptly ripped through the Warriors top order. New additions Migael Pretorius and Malusi Siboto (along with Lions stalwart Aaron Phangiso) each picked up a wicket before the end of the day’s play to reduce the Warriors to 42-3 overnight, still trailing by 83 runs.
Yaseen Vallie (22 not out off 31 balls) and Lesiba Ngoepe (four not out off 14 balls) will resume on Thursday as they look to consolidate the Warriors second innings.
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