CAPE TOWN – Jason Smith underlined his value to the Cape Cobras with both bat and ball at Newlands on Monday.
Smith, 24, rescued the Cobras with a classy 74 off just 115 balls (12x4) to push them up to 239 all out after the 4-Day Domestic Series leaders were reduced to 91/5 by the Warriors.
New-ball pair Basheer Walters (3/51) and Glenton Stuurman (3/88) did not waste the opportunity to bowl under cloudy skies at Newlands after Warriors captain Jon-Jon Smuts had won the toss.
Walters required just two balls to cut short Matthew Kleinveldt’s return to the franchise cricket.
The veteran semi-pro opener, who is deputising for the injured Janneman Malan, would have been bitterly disappointed to edge behind after coming into this match with three centuries for Western Province this season.
However, the Cobras plunged further into the mire when Stuurman claimed the big wicket of Pieter Malan for just five.
Having smelt blood, the Eastern Cape outfit were intent on making further inroads, and continued to do so despite a couple of starts for Simon Khomari (20), Kyle Verreynne (31) and David Bedingham (43).
It was not until Smith found the free-striking Rory Kleinveldt – cousin of Matthew – did the Cobras’ innings gather any momentum.
Rory Kleinveldt, in particular, was the aggressor, with the pair adding 75 runs in just 14.3 overs at more than five runs per over during the afternoon.
But while Kleinveldt (42 off 44 balls, 9x4) tried to club the home team out of trouble, Smith maintained his composure and neatly tucked away the bad balls.
He was particularly strong through the covers, pouncing on anything slightly over-pitched, and also off his pads.
A century was there for the taking, but with only the tail-enders for company after Kleinveldt’s dismissal, Smith was forced to take a couple more risks.
It was unfortunately the architect of his demise, when he hauled out the pull shot against Lutho Sipamla to a ball that was just not short enough.
DAY 1 | STUMPS— COBRAS CRICKET (@CobrasCricket) January 14, 2019
That's it for the opening day's play.
We head into day 2 with a 179-run lead as the @WarriorsCrickEC ends the day on 60/3.
Lizaad Williams, Rory Kleinveldt and Jason Smith doing the damage with the ball.#COBvWAR #StrengthInDiversity #4DaySeries pic.twitter.com/ddV5F96ztt
Smith’s innings certainly underlined why the young all-rounder has so many admirers around the country willing him on to succeed in order to proceed to the next level.
The fact that he can bowl at decent medium-pace is a further advantage.
Joining the attack after Rory Klienveldt and Lizaad Williams had removed both Warriors openers already, the home team required their fourth seamer to maintain the pressure.
And that’s exactly what Smith delivered in his first over. Running in from the Wynberg End, he managed to get a fullish delivery to move away from Yaseen Vallie just enough to get the former Cobras batsman edging behind to Bedingham at second slip.
DAY 1 | WICKET— COBRAS CRICKET (@CobrasCricket) January 14, 2019
Jason Smith gets the 3rd in his first over of the innings.@WarriorsCrickEC 46/3 after 12.5 as the deficit now sits at 193#COBvWAR #StrengthInDiversity #4DaySeries pic.twitter.com/3OzH775Tmx
It was a crucial wicket for the Cobras after Vallie had looked good in touch, striking three boundaries in his 20 off just 27 balls.
The Warriors will resume on 60/3, still trailing by 179 runs, with Jon-Jon Smuts and Colin Ackerman at the crease.@ZaahierAdams