Two wickets apiece for Junior Dala and Beuran Hendricks restricted the England Lions to 302-7 at stumps on day one in Canterbury.
The SA A side have been through a mixed tour of England so far. A frustrating, rain-affected series defeat in the one-day series followed a massive victory over Hampshire, before they stuttered to an innings defeat to Sussex. It was time for the real test in Canterbury on Wednesday, as they took on the Lions in the first unofficial Test.
Asked to field first, a number of players were looking to make an impact in this match, with the Test squad being announced towards the end of the week. One of them was Duanne Olivier (1-51), who didn’t take long to get going as he found the out-of-form Haseeb Hameed’s edge for the youngster to walk for a duck.
England quickly settled down as Mark Stonemason and former SA U19 skipper Keaton Jennings built up a 105-run stand. Hendricks (2-40), revitalising his career with the Highveld Lions after suffering injury problems with the Cobras, found the breakthrough to remove Stonemason for 58. A mini-collapse saw Dane Piedt (1-98) bowl Nick Gubbins for four, before Zambian-born Junior Dala (2-56) opened his account to see off Jennings for 57.
A useful 74-run stand followed between Dan Lawrence (34) and Ben Foakes as the day appeared to be heading England’s way. That was until Dala found Lawrence’s edge for his second of the day.
Skipper Aiden Markram decided to introduce Theunis de Bruyn (1-10) into the attack and it paid off as young all-rounder Sam Curran was trapped lbw for 18, and Hendricks had the last laugh of the day to remove Jamie Overton for 15.
Impressive Surrey wicketkeeper Foakes remained the constant, scoring an unbeaten 77 off 129 balls to keep his side’s nose just in front. He’ll go into day two with Tom Helm (9), with the hosts on 302-7.
Photo: Sarah Ansell/Gallo Images