As if to make an emphatic point, JP Duminy, released to the Cobras from the Proteas squad last week, ran up an impressive, unbeaten 153 in Paarl on Thursday.
He helped the Cobras to a dominating position of 348-4 against the Highveld Lions on day one of their Sunfoil Series match, finally striking back after two embarrassing defeats.
Duminy secured his 18th first-class century off 156 balls (9×4) and went on to the close in 260 balls, with 13 fours, resolutely supported by another past-Protea, Dane Vilas, who ended the day on 109 his 11th first-class hundred.
For a moment, after electing to bat, it looked to be a depressingly familiar scenario as the Lions struck quickly, Dwaine Pretorius bowling Simon Khomari (0) and then running out Andrew Puttick (18) to leave the Cobras at 21-2.
But Omphile Ramela (46) and Duminy repaired the damage with a stand of 123 until the Cobras captain was bowled by Hardus Viljoen. While Justin Ontong (12) provided more passive support in a partnership of 33 for the fourth wicket, Vilas wielded the willow like a scimitar, slashing 12 fours and three sixes. Together, they have added 171 for the fifth wicket.
Down in Bloemfontein, chaos reigned in the match between the Knights and the Titans. The ground-inspectorate have undoubtedly been alerted after 21 wickets fell, almost exclusively to pace.
First the Titans were bundled out for 141, with Duanne Olivier adding to his ever-more impressive cv with his first five-for (5-42) of this campaign. And just when they thought that was job well done, the Titans came back to shatter the Knights’ line-up for 76.
Ethy Mbhalati took 5-29 in 6.4 overs and David Wiese 3-16 off nine. For the record, Farhaan Behardien was the Titans’ champion, with 34, while Rillee Rossow (17) and Rudi Second (14) were the standout batsmen for the Knights, neck and neck with Extras (14).
At the close the Titans were 20-1.
No play was possible as rain fell incessantly in Pietermaritzburg, keeping the Dolphins and the Warriors in the pavilion.