Pieter Malan hits through the offside during his unbeaten knock of 118 for the Cape Cobras against the Knights at Newlands on Tuesday. Photo: Chris Ricco/BackpagePix

CAPE TOWN – Pieter Malan produced his 28th first-class hundred as the Cape Cobras grinded away at the Knights and ended day two in the lead in their Four-Day Series clash at Newlands on Tuesday.

Opening batsman Malan produced yet another strong performance that will do his push for higher honours no harm as he kept the Cobras innings together.

Malan ended the day on an unbeaten 118 (off 282 balls, 16x4) in 11 minutes short of seven hours at the crease, having taken guard late on Monday afternoon when the Knights were bowled out for 279 in their first innings.

The 29-year-old right-hander’s excellent effort saw the Cobras to the close at 302/6 off exactly 100 overs, which gives them a 23-run lead on the first innings.

Malan started the day with his brother Janneman in tow at 12/0, and the new Cobras openers took the total to a handy 59, when Janneman was bowled by Ottniel Bartman for a boundary-laden 38 (69 balls, 7x4).

Cobras coach Ashwell Prince will be disappointed, though, that his top-order didn’t hang around long enough with Pieter Malan to take charge of the match.

Zubayr Hamza (20), debutant David Bedingham (26) and Kyle Verreynne (27) all got starts and couldn’t kick on.

It was up to Aviwe Mgijima lay some sort of platform with Malan, and the pair added 59 runs for the fourth wicket – 40 of which came from the bat of Mgijima (79 balls, 6x4).

Once he was dismissed by Patrick Kruger, wicket-keeper Verreynne walked in, and Malan played in a more positive manner. He went from 58 off 177 balls to 97 from 243 – which equates to 39 runs off 66 balls – but then Verreynne succumbed to Ryan McLaren (3/47 in 20 overs) for 27 (71 balls, 3x4).

Captain Dane Piedt didn’t last long, hitting his first ball from McLaren for a boundary and edging his second ball behind to Knights wicket-keeper Rudi Second.

With the Cobras at 261/6, the Knights were fighting hard to claim some form of a lead, but it was not to be as Malan reached his century, and Rory Kleinveldt hit two fours and a six in a 35-ball 20 not out.

The match is still in the balance, though. Malan and Kleinveldt will look to occupy the crease for as long as possible on Wednesday, with the Knights aiming for quick wickets so that they can begin their second innings with the lowest possible deficit.

 

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