• Ontong steers SA A to safety

    Justin Ontong scored a crucial half-century to take his side to 220-5 at stumps on the first day of the second unofficial Test against Australia A.

    The South Africa A skipper, aided by Lions batsman Temba Bavuma (55), laid the foundation for a strong finish for their side on Day One in Townsville after winning the toss and electing to bat on Thursday. The decision initially looked to have been the wrong one as Gurinder Sandhu (3/60) took three early wickets.

    They shared a 78-run, fourth-wicket partnership, adding crucial runs after Heino Kuhn, Khaya Zondo and Reeza Hendricks were dismissed for six, three and 32 respectively, leaving South Africa on 56/3 in the 34th over when Ontong walked to the crease.

    Bavuma’s half-century came off 151 balls, including six fours, before he became Stephen O’Keefe’s first victim of the day. Ontong went on to share an 82-run, fifth-wicket partnership with Farhaan Behardien (35 not out), but missed out on a well-deserved century when the left-arm spinner struck a second time, removing him for 86 off 175 balls to see the bowler finish with 2/40.

    South Africa A were 220/5 after 90 overs at stumps, with Behardien joined at the crease by David Wiesse, who has yet to face a ball. Honours were even after the first day, but the hosts need to make the running as the Test progresses in an attempt to win this match and spare the series.

    Day Two of the second unofficial four-day Test between Australia A and South Africa A was abandoned without a ball being bowled because of rain in Townsville on Friday. The weather won’t bother the visitors too much as they are currently 1-0 up in the two-match Test series.

     Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/Backpagepix

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