JOHANNESBURG – The Dolphins turned a disastrous opening 20 minutes into a triumphant day, reaching the halfway mark of this Four-Day Franchise match with a 288-run lead on Thursday.
That seems scarcely believable, given the start they had to the second day.
The visitors, resuming on 302/6, lost their remaining four first-innings wickets for the addition of just one run in 23 balls.
Dwaine Pretorius picked up three wickets to finish with career-best figures of 6/38 in 18.5 overs.
Beuran Hendricks added Khaya Zondo’s wicket to Sarel Erwee’s as he finished with 2/52. The Dolphins captain top-scored with 114.
The Lions would have been delighted with that start to the day, but they failed to build on it – dramatically so.
By lunch, the Lions were 42/4.
Openers Stephen Cook and Reeza Hendricks had been bowled, Omphile Ramela mistimed a pull, with a top edge offering short-leg an easy catch.
And the captain for this match, and one of the most in-form batsmen in the country at the moment Rassie van der Dussen, was caught in the gully off a ball that spat off the surface.
In all, eight wickets fell for 43 runs in the first session.
And the pitch wasn’t entirely to blame. The odd one bounced more than could be expected, and that is enough to put doubt in batsmen’s minds.
However, the Lions also weren’t patient enough – certainly not in the manner shown by Zondo on the first day.
In the first over after lunch, they lost Nicky van den Bergh, who has been among their best batsmen in the competition this season, to Keshav Maharaj and a procession followed that.
Young Wihan Lubbe was the top scorer with 36 in what was a poor performance by the hosts as they were dismissed for 134.
Tea Update: The #lions🦁were bowled out for 134 before tea. W Lubbe (36) and C Alexander (20*) provided a bit resistance for the pride.— Lions Cricket (@LionsCricketSA) December 20, 2018
S Erwee (9*) & V van Jaarsveld (6*) have opened the batting for the visitors' second innings.
Dolphins are currently leading by 188 runs. pic.twitter.com/ohRDe2nS4F
Keith Dudgeon, once of Gauteng, and Kerwin Mungroo were the most successful of the Dolphins’ bowlers, each claiming three wickets, while Maharaj was typically miserly, finishing with 1/9 in seven overs.
Dolphins openers Vaughn van Jaarsveld and Erwee built quickly on that 169-run lead their side gained on the first innings, putting on a stand of 60 for the first wicket in 14 overs, before Van Jaarsveld edged one behind off Pretorius after making 33.
Stumps: @Hollywoodbets Dolphins 119-5, we have a lead of 288 runs.— Dolphins Cricket (@DolphinsCricket) December 20, 2018
Outstanding performance today from our bowlers have put us in a winning position leading into day 3. #LIOvDOL #DolphinsCricket #4DaySeries pic.twitter.com/TSM5FhpE3p
It was just reward for a fine spell from Pretorius, who was the only Lions bowler in that initial period of the Dolphins second innings to bowl with any sort of accuracy and discipline.
That wicket did seem to rouse the otherwise lax home team, and they picked up four more before stumps on what had been an action-packed day that saw 254 runs scored for the loss of 19 wickets – the Dolphins ending on 119/5, a lead of 288.@shockerhess