Dolphins captain Khaya Zondo hits to the offside during his unbeaten innings of 114 against the Lions at the Wanderers on Wednesday. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

JOHANNESBURG – Whatever went into the Highveld Lions’ tea on Wednesday afternoon needs to be rapidly removed from the menu.

For the first two sessions of play in this Four-Day Franchise match, the home team dominated after Dolphins captain Khaya Zondo had called correctly at the toss and chose to bat first at the Wanderers.

The Lions were on top in the first hour, with Beuran Hendricks continuing what has been an excellent season from him, with a high quality seven-over opening spell.

His reward for the pace and accuracy with which he bowled was the wicket of Sarel Erwee, with a fine delivery that swung away from the left-hander and was edged to third slip.

Dwaine Pretorius dismissed Vaughn van Jaarsveld in the first hour as well, and despite an 88-run stand for the third wicket between Cody Chetty and Zondo, the Lions remained largely in control heading into the afternoon session.

The discipline they’d showed in that first session and in the hour after lunch bore fruit as the Dolphins lost three wickets for 15 runs in just six overs.

Chetty got a faint outside edge to one that left him off the pitch from Pretorius after he’d made 65, while Sibonelo Makhanya (0) and Grant Roelofson (5) didn’t cause the hosts much bother.

Zondo, who was struck a fearsome blow on the chest by Hendricks, and Andile Phehlukwayo played carefully up until tea.

Thereafter, the day turned the visitors’ way.

The Lions seemed to take their foot off the gas after the break, looking merely to dry up the runs until the second new ball.

It was a strange tactic – if that was in fact the case – and it was wrong. Phehlukwayo and Zondo duly punished them.

The former, dropped on 25 at slip by Reeza Hendricks off Aaron Phangiso, took 12 runs off an over from Nono Pongolo a short while later, hitting three fours to various parts of the ground to set the turnaround in motion.

Phangiso conceded three sixes, two of which by Zondo required the umpires to replace the ball.

Phehlukwayo was eventually bowled between bat and pad by Phangiso for a well made 57, an innings that indicated again that he has a lot to offer as a batsman.

He was at the crease for over two hours, faced 85 balls and struck 11 fours and a six. His partnership with the resilient Zondo was worth 116.

The Dolphins captain recorded a very fine hundred, the latter stages of which were watched by Proteas coach Ottis Gibson.

It demanded fierce concentration and guts, and he was rightly given an enthusiastic applause from his teammates upon reaching the three-figure landmark.

By the time play was stopped for bad light, Zondo had been at the crease for close to five hours and was unbeaten on 114 as the Dolphins finished on 302/6.

Pretorius bagged three wickets for the home team, but their problems were best summed up by Hendricks, who after that magnificent opening spell in the morning, couldn’t get it together with the second new ball, with his lines and lengths both lacking discipline.

Zondo will resume on Thursday morning with Keshav Maharaj (23 not out) as the Dolphins seek to further take advantage after being let off the hook by the Lions.


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