Port Elizabeth – An unbeaten century by Ashwell Prince helped the Warriors fight back strongly on day three of their domestic four-day clash against the Cape Cobras in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.
The former Proteas batsman batted for almost the entire day at St. George's Park and was still there on 168 at the close after facing 258 deliveries, taking his side to 384 for five.
David White (63) and Ryan Bailey (77) also contributed half centuries, which meant the hosts were 142 runs behind the Cobras' first innings 526 for four declared, although just one day remained.
Resuming on 15/1 at the start, it was always going to be a backs-to-the-wall day for the Warriors, but they made a solid enough start thanks to a 59-run second-wicket stand between White and Jon-Jon Smuts (23).
The partnership breaker was Cobras debutant Dane Paterson, also the pick of the bowlers on day three with three for 71, after he had Smuts caught by Yaseen Vallie at midwicket.
But Prince was in next, and after helping the hosts get past 100 in the 32nd over, he quickly reached his half century in 62 balls, followed by White from a far more patient 115 deliveries.
The two put on 97 together for the third wicket, before Paterson again struck by inducing an edge through to wicketkeeper Dane Vilas with the score on 170. But a 140-run stand between Prince and Bailey followed – the pair batted together for 36 overs to peg back any victory hopes of the defending champions.
Prince reached his 37th career century in 177 balls, but lost Bailey, who crossed 50 in 92 balls a little earlier, with just over an hour of play remaining.
Beuran Hendricks claimed that wicket and 40 runs later Simon Harmer (16) fell with Davy Jacobs (six) helping Prince until the close.
In an earlier game that finished in Kimberley, Corne Dry finished with five wickets as the Knights wrapped up a comprehensive 10-wicket victory over the Highveld Lions early on the third day at the Diamond Oval.
The medium pacer bagged two of the remaining three wickets on day three, to finish with 5/27 as the visitors, who were the log leaders heading into the third round of games, were rolled over for 72 in their second innings.
That left the home side needing just 15 runs to win the game and they did so in 2.5 overs. Resuming on 29/7 overnight, Hardus Viljoen (one) was first to fall when he edged Dry to wicketkeeper Lefa Mosena in the fourth over of the morning.
Werner Coetsee and Quinton Friend then combined to run out Pumelela Matshikwe for a duck, before top-scorer Neil McKenzie was last man out for 35 – the veteran batsman caught by Gihahn Cloete off Dry.
Reeza Hendricks (two) and Dean Elgar (nine) raced to the victory target to hand their side a first win of the season. – Sapa