Career-best knocks from JP Duminy and Dane Vilas gave the national selectors something to think about, as the Cape Cobras posted 570-4 on day two of their Sunfoil Series clash against the Highveld Lions.
While the pair have every reason to be proud of their achievements, it does raise questions over the quality of the first-class domestic system in the country. It was against the defending champions, who went into this match with two wins out of two. On an unforgiving Boland Park pitch, Proteas spin duo Aaron Phangiso and Eddie Leie combined for figures of 1-259 from 58 overs.
Duminy and Vilas brought up centuries on day one, and it didn’t take long for Duminy to notch up a second-ever first-class double century as they piled on the runs in the morning session. Vilas (216), with a previous best of 203, went past that, too, and they eventually shared a 393-run fifth-wicket stand before declaring, denying Duminy (260) the chance to go for a triple hundred.
The stand was the highest fifth-wicket partnership in South Africa, surpassing Steve Waugh and Greg Blewett’s 385 for Australia against the Proteas in 1997.
It was a timely innings from Duminy, who has battled for form in national colours and was dropped for the second Test, but will certainly come into consideration for selection in the third Test. Vilas, who struggled in India and has played no further part for the Proteas since, will want to keep proving that he has plenty left in him at the highest level.
The Lions then continued to show that it was a batsman’s pitch, as Stephen Cook, left out of the Proteas Test squad once again, responded, once again, with 66, while Rassie van der Dussen put together 55. They will resume on 126-0 on day three.
Meanwhile, in one of the more bizarre Sunfoil Series matches you will hear about this season, the Knights are closing in on a massive victory over the Titans, this after being skittled for 76 in their first innings.
It was a match that looked set to last just two days, after the Titans posted 141, before the Knights crumbled. The Titans only improved to 187 in their second innings, but with the way things were going, the 253 the Knights had to chase down looked a daunting one.
Attack proved their best form of defence, however, as Reeza Hendricks and Michael Erlank plundered a 100-run stand in just under 19 overs. Erlank departed for 33 and Hendricks shortly after for 69, but it didn’t stop Rilee Rossouw from continuing the onslaught, striking a 55-ball 72. With eight wickets in hand and 39 more runs needed, the Knights should wrap it up early on day three.
The Dolphins and the Warriors have had to endure two washed out days in Pietermaritzburg, so they’ll be desperate for some game time on Saturday.