CAPE TOWN – Proteas coach Ottis Gibson may be all the way in Australia preparing for a limited-overs series, but he will be keeping a close eye on proceedings at Newlands due to the return of Vernon Philander.
The Proteas Test opening bowler has recovered from an ankle injury and is taking the new ball for the Cape Cobras in their four-day clash against the Dolphins. Philander has come into the Cobras line-up at the expense of all-rounder Jason Smith.
It took only seven balls for Philander to make his mark when Vaughn van Jaarsveld edged behind to Cobras wicket-keeper Kyle Verreynne.
Gibson would not only have been pleased with the wicket, but also Philander’s overall effort in his first spell. The 33-year-old struck a good length throughout, moving the ball both ways off the seam and was unlucky to only be rewarded with the solitary scalp of Van Jaarsveld, completing his five overs for just 14 runs.
Unfortunately for the Cobras, the rest of the bowling unit did not follow Philander’s lead. Dane Paterson started poorly with a leg-stump half-volley, and continued to struggle for the rest of the morning with lengths.
Cobras captain @dane_piedt63 did not hesitate to bowl under cloudy skies at Newlands, especially with the return of "the best bowler in the world" Vernon Philander to @CobrasCricket line-up! @IOLsport @VDP_24 @VincentBarnes50 #COBvDOL #FourDayCricket pic.twitter.com/sY7liTj8wn
He did create an opportunity when Cody Chetty edged behind to Zubayr Hamza at second slip, but the chance went a begging. Chetty took full advantage of his second life, moving confidently to his half-century and went to the lunch break on 57 not out.
There was some relief for the Cobras, though, when Mthiwekhaya Nabe trapped Sarel Erwee for 35 and captain Dane Piedt won the battle of the skippers with Khaya Zondo edging behind for nine. Zondo was not pleased with his dismissal, especially as he had struck Piedt for successive boundaries.
The Dolphins dressingroom would still be the happier of the two at the lunch interval, with the visitors heading to break on 117/3 after negotiating the difficult batting conditions to good effect.