An excellent century from Stiaan van Zyl allowed the Cobras to take a 260-run lead through to day three against the Knights in Paarl.
After their day one performance, the Cobras will be very happy with the way they’ve responded. They were bowled out for 154 on Thursday, but cleaned up the Knights‘ tail in the morning session on day two before a much-improved performance with the bat.
The Knights, leading the way at the top of the Sunfoil Series standings, went into day two on 137-6, hopeful of pulling away from the Cobras’ first-innings score. That was until Dane Paterson and Kyle Simmonds combined to bowl them out for 153, adding just 16 runs to their overnight total.
Ashwell Prince’s side, aiming for a third win in four matches, continued the trend of poor starts at the top of the order as Omphile Ramela (3) and Andrew Puttick (5) fell victim to Duanne Olivier, who has been in scintillating form in the Sunfoil Series this season, and indeed for the Proteas now too.
Van Zyl and Justin Ontong then proceeded to stop the rot with a crucial 74-run stand. Ontong fell just after lunch on 43, but Jason Smith hung around long enough to help Van Zyl on his way to a well-played fifty, with the pair adding another 92 runs to the total.
After the break, with Van Zyl on 88, the ex-Proteas, Sussex-bound batsman went on to bring up his 19th first-class century, hitting 16 fours along the way. Smith departed for 44 and Van Zyl followed him soon after for 106 to bring the Knights back into the contest, Van Schalkwyk accounting for Van Zyl’s prized scalp.
Dane Vilas (38) held firm and will look to get his side past the 300-run lead mark, with debutant Kyle Simmonds joining him at the crease on Saturday morning on 259-7.
Elsewhere, the match between the defending champions the Titans and the Dolphins is evenly poised as Heinrich Klaasen struck an unbeaten 82 to get the visitors within 60 of the Dolphins’ total with four wickets in hand.
The Dolphins went into day two on 253-5 and could only add another 48 runs to their overnight total as Malusi Siboto and Shaun von Berg combined to take three wickets apiece, bowling them out for 301. Regular wickets set the Titans back throughout the day, but the constant was Klaasen, helped by a decent opening stand between Aiden Markram (44) and Dean Elgar (34). They will go into day three in Pietermaritzburg on 240-6.
In East London, 50 from Stephen Cook and 82 from Rassie van der Dussen helped the Lions to 307 against the Warriors, this after a rain-affected first day on Thursday.
Anrich Nortje took 4-71 to restrict the Lions, before the Warriors settled for 79-2 by the close of play. Ed Moore is looking settled on 39 not out and will be joined at the crease by Yaseen Vallie (2). It was Temba Bavuma to find the breakthrough, bringing back memories of his first Test wicket against Australia last year. He bowled Colin Ackermann for 18. It’s anyone’s to play for from here.
Photo: Grant Pitcher/Gallo Images