A superb maiden double-century from Justin Ontong allowed the Cobras to close in on the Dolphins’ 478 in Paarl.
The Cobras suffered an all-too-familiar situation on Friday, as their top order collapsed to 22-4 in response to a Khaya Zondo-led 478 from the Dolphins. But day three saw them turn it all around, batting out almost the entire day to eventually be bowled out just 31 runs short, on 447.
It’s amazing to think that Justin Ontong, 36 years old and an international debut as long as 15 years ago, still has a career-best performance in him. He went into this match with a best of 166, against the same opposition in March 2015. He blew that out of the park with 225 at Boland Park on Saturday. Only 24 fours were scored in that knock, making for an awful lot of running in those old legs.
It couldn’t have been done without the support of young wicketkeeper Keegan Petersen, who struck 86 in a mammoth 202-run stand to drag them completely out of danger. It was a massive reprieve for the side as a whole, who have had to endure a winless season so far amongst all the chaos behind the scenes involving their out-of-favour coach, Paul Adams.
While this match is heading for a draw, it will be the best result Adams’ side have achieved all season.
Day three was dominated by rain in the Potchefstroom clash between the Titans and the Lions, as the match also leans towards a draw. The Titans dominated the first two days, bowling the Lions out for 206 before the defending champions amassed 327-6 with their skipper Henry Davids on an unbeaten 101.
Should there be a full day’s play tomorrow, the Titans will surely look to declare overnight and tuck into the Lions top-order to stand any chance of pulling off a victory, as they aim to cling on to top spot going into the mid-season break.
It was bad light meanwhile that had the final say in Port Elizabeth, as an interesting final day awaits between the Knights and the Warriors. The hosts are in the pound seat as they need eight wickets on Sunday to inflict a first defeat of the season on Nicky Boje’s Knights.
This was after they posted scores of 339 and 236 in between the Knights’ disappointing 179. Skipper Theunis de Bruyn (7) and David Miller (2) will look to pull a rabbit out of the hat, as they will resume the final day on 43-2, needing a massive 354 runs for victory.
Photo: Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images