JOHANNESBURG – One intriguing aspect for the remainder of this match will be measuring the Lions’s stomach for a fight.
They face an impossible position here, one from which they cannot win and one from which they will in all likelihood lose. However it is also a position in which there is opportunity; to show that the new coaching and leadership regime and the new atmosphere they have created has imbued some determination in a dressing room that floundered often last season.
There are two days to bat and a pitch showing understandable signs of wear and tear will not make that easy. But by dragging the game deep into the final day the Lions will send an important message to their opponents and the rest of the teams in the competition about their resolve, character and the fact that they won’t be pushovers.
The first two days of this match have been a chastening experience for the Lions. Fresh off a fine win in Port Elizabeth, where they dominated the latter half of the match against the Warriors, here they were poor with the bat in the first innings, and were taught lessons by a group of young batsmen with a bright future.
The Cobras know what a broken dressing-room does to morale and performances and it is to Ashwell Prince’s credit that they have turned things around, putting a focus on the game.
Their batsmen far exceeded the home team in the manner in which they applied themselves. Janneman Malan and David Bedingham completed the hundreds on Tuesday morning that their first day endeavours deserved. Malan finished on 137, his five and half hour innings a statement of intent against the franchise that let him go and one that the national selectors should certainly take note of.
They will want to pencil in Bedingham’s name too, for while he has not had as much playing time as the younger Malan, it is clear that his talent and temperament are deserving of higher honours. A call-up to an SA A side would not be unwarranted based on his innings of 102 and it must be hoped that both he and Malan view their performances here as a platform from which to make big runs for the remainder of the season.
Kyle Verreynne (65), Jason Smith (65) and Cobras skipper Dane Piedt (57), who is playing his 100th first class match, added further bags of salt to the Lions’s wounds eventually helping their team build a lead of 425 runs.
Beuran Hendricks’s 5/101, the 16th time he’s claimed a first class ‘five-fer,’ was the only highlight for the Lions, who’s bowlers worked hard to try and make up for the batting calamity of the first day.
Score update: Day 2 of 4
Bizhub Highveld Lions 104 and 11/0
WSB Cape Cobras 529