Eathan Bosch claimed four wickets to help bowl the Dolphins to victory over the Lions. Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

JOHANNESBURG – Lions coach Enoch Nkwe had wanted to spend the festive week off reflecting on winning the Mzansi Super League with the Jozi Stars.

He might still do that, but he’ll also need to think about what changes need to be made to the Lions starting team for their next four-day game.

And changes there must be, for this was a disgraceful display with the bat from the Lions.

A total of 240 runs across two innings, both innings lasted a total of 61.3 overs (barely two sessions worth of cricket), with a total time for those two innings of five hours and 20 minutes.

That is no way for a professional cricket outfit to operate.

The harshest punishment would be to drop a couple of batsmen for the next match – also against the Dolphins in Durban, starting on January 4.

It’s not as if there isn’t any talent out there either.

Joshua Richards, who just turned 20, is in the midst of a terrific run of from to start his career, and scored 98 batting for an SA Invitation XI against the Pakistan touring team in Benoni.

Ryan Rickelton is desperate to prove he’s not just a ‘white-ball’ player, and Dominic Hendricks is waiting in the wings too.

Picking them might serve as a wake-up call to a couple of players who in this game seemed to be living too comfortably.

How much of this had to do with the Mzansi Super League, the final of which was played just five days ago?

That is for Nkwe to assess. Four players who featured in this match played in that final at Newlands, and perhaps there was a too much of a hangover, and that permeated throughout the team.

Whatever went wrong, Nkwe needs to send a strong message that performances as were witnessed here are unacceptable.

For their part, the Dolphins out-bowled the Lions here too, even though their attack was – Keshav Maharaj aside – far less experienced than the home team’s.

Where the Lions had laboured again on Friday morning, allowing the Dolphins’ lower order to add 97 runs in 27 overs to their overnight total of 119/5, the visiting bowlers were aggressive and accurate.

Eathan Bosch, who finished with 4/35 in eight overs, started the ball rolling with a lovely delivery which knocked back Stephen Cook’s off-stump in the first over.

Bosch was superbly supported by Keith Dudgeon, who once called Gauteng home, as the pair ripped out the Lions’ top-order within six overs, reducing them to 17/4.

They found life and bounce where the Lions bowlers had found nothing.

The home team’s middle-order just gave up thereafter, and in 19.4 overs – less than a session – the match was done.

Khaya Zondo, the Dolphins captain, was named Man of the Match for his first innings of 114, a knock which should stand as a lesson for the Lions batsmen in how to fight and adjust when batting.

Nkwe may have been looking forward to his break, but it is going to be far less enjoyable than it looked like being just a few days ago – for there is plenty for him to ponder.

Brief Scores

Dolphins 303 and 216, Highveld Lions 134 and 106 – Dolphins won by 279 runs.


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