CAPE TOWN – During his playing days, Ashwell Prince was the epitome of grit and courage.
If the Proteas found themselves with their backs to the wall in a challenging situation, it was often the plucky left-hander from Gelvandale that would be grafting at the one end to get his team’s head above the murky clouds.
It seems that Prince has transferred that same fighting spirit to his Cape Cobras charges in his new life as head coach of the Western Cape franchise.
After enduring two-and-a-half miserable days at the Mangaung Oval, which led to the Cobras trailing the Knights by a massive 467 runs on the first innings, they were the team that left Bloemfontein on Friday night with the biggest smiles.
Spurred on by Hashim Amla’s 189, Justin Ontong’s 128 and a superb maiden first-class century from Aviwe Mgijima (112), the Cobras closed their second innings on 567/6 when the umpires asked the captains to shake hands on the final afternoon.
The Cobras were ahead by 103 runs at that stage.
It was fitting that skipper Dane Piedt was at the crease, unbeaten on 26, when the stumps were drawn, for he is cut from a similar courageous cloth to his coach Prince.
Few things in this world would have pleased Piedt more than to deny the Knights victory after the hosts were in such a dominant position for the majority of this contest.
The three Cobras centurions from the match, what an effort in the second innings by our batsmen. pic.twitter.com/E8KvKJqgAe
Rookie wicket-keeper Kyle Verrynne would also have benefited tremendously from being part of this heroic rearguard action, with his 42 not out also playing a pivotal role in the draw being achieved.
Overall, seven centuries were scored in a match that had an aggregate of 1 349 runs for the loss of only 20 wickets, which could prompt the Knights to prepare more evenly-balanced pitches going forward if they are to defend their Sunfoil Series crown.
Cape Cobras 159 and 567/6 – Hashim Amla 189, Justin Ontong 128, Aviwe Mgijima 112
Knights 623/4 declared – Theunis de Bruyn 195, Keegan Petersen 141, Werner Coetsee 105 not out, Rudi Second 101 not out