• Erwee, Hamza lead run-fest

    Centuries by Sarel Erwee and Zubayr Hamza put South Africa A in a powerful position at 389-2 in their warm-up match against an India Board XI in Bengaluru.

    As a warm-up match, the South African A team top order had an ideal work-out, with openers Pieter Malan and Erwee, on his A-team debut, putting on 161 for the first wicket in 33 overs. Malan departed shortly after reaching his 50, lbw to the offbreak of Jalaj Saxena, and Erwee retired a few overs later, when on 117. He had struck 17 fours and a six among the 137 balls he faced, rattling along at a strike rate of 85.

    Hamza and captain Khaya Zondo continued the good work, scoring at almost 4.5 an over at one stage.

    Perhaps the A team need to be a bit suspicious and remember the criticism of their senior colleagues further south in Sri Lanka, when they pointed out that the practice strip was nothing like the wickets they subsequently played on in the two Tests.

    The A team will play two unofficial Tests, starting 4 August and 10 August, both in Bengaluru, followed by a triangular series with Australia coming in.

    Nonetheless, they did what was needed to be done as the India Board team rotated seven bowlers, of whom three were spinners. Hamza was almost an anchor, as Zondo accelerated to his 50 off 80 balls (nine fours); while his partner ambled to his half-century off 94 (eight fours, one six).

    Zondo eventually fell to the left-arm spinner Dharmendrasinh Jadeja for 67, giving debutant Highveld Lions batsman Rassie van der Dussen, the top batsman of the Sunfoil Series, 19 overs of game time in which he scored 35.

    Hamza then found fifth gear and powered on through his second 50 in 72 balls, ending the day on 104. He may well feel he has the measure of these bowlers in these conditions and could consider retiring to give other batsmen time in the middle.

    Apart from Erwee and Van der Dussen, the new caps in the A team were two young fast bowlers, Mthiwekhaya Nabe of the Cape Cobras and Anrich Nortje of the Warriors.


    Photo: Anesh Debiky/Gallo Images


    Post by