JOHANNESBURG – It took them until the final hour of play on the penultimate day of this Four-Day Series match, but the Cobras got the reward their impressive performance deserved on Wednesday evening.
Led by a sterling effort from their captain Dane Piedt, playing his 100th first-class match, the Cape franchise claimed a dominant win that gives them early control of the competition.
Nursing a big bruise on his bowling hand, Piedt, finished the Lions second innings with figures of 43-5-118-7, 42 of those overs delivered Wednesday, for the most part from the Corlett Drive End, while he rotated his set of young seamers from the Golf Course End.
“I cannot ask for a better performance from my team...bowling a team out for 104 and then completely dominating them with the bat,” said Piedt.
Indeed this was an outstanding display from the Cobras, who were missing two veteran seamers in Rory Kleinveldt and Dane Paterson. Piedt admitted he was concerned how their absence might affect a young bowling unit, but he needn’t have worried. They were given a big helping hand by the Lions on the first morning, with the home team’s stand-in captain Omphile Ramela bemoaning a number of “soft dismissals” in the first innings.
With a monumental lead courtesy of a mature but flowing effort with the bat, they were given more than enough wiggle room to attack the Lions in the second innings.
“The sweetest part of everything is that a team with an average age of 25 stood up in critical moments in the game.”
The highlight of the Cobras’s innings was the 178-run third wicket partnership between Janneman Malan, who scored 137 and David Bedingham, who made 102.
“We want to give these young guys the best opportunity possible to express themselves. Our batting line-up, it excites me, you look at how they played here, they didn’t bat at 2.5 or 2.7 an over, they really took it the Lions who have some experienced bowlers in their attack,” said Piedt.
As for his own performance on the final day, which came on top of a well-made 57 with the bat, Piedt said he drew inspiration from further afield.
“I sat in my room last night, watching the Test in Dubai (between Australia and Pakistan), and thought to myself, that’s what I have to do, rotate at one end, and that ensured the young guys weren’t bowled into the ground, which is the ideal way to do it. It’s my second five-fer at the Wanderers, it was a weird kind of pitch, quite dry and it actually favoured me. I sensed blood and took the opportunity.”
The Lions never recovered from that horrible opening morning, when a plethora of errors saw them reduced to 84/8 at lunch. “First morning, first session, first innings...we blew ourselves out of the game, we didn’t really compete, didn’t bat well enough,” Ramela lamented.
There were some positives to be drawn from the second innings; Stephen Cook backed up his century last week with a typically workmanlike one here of 103, while Wihan Lubbe with 81 and Nicky van den Bergh with 73 sought to atone for their mistakes in the first innings.
The Cobras claimed 25.74 points for their win, while all the Lions took from this match was a paltry 2 points for bowling.
Day 3 of 4
Bizhub Highveld Lions 104
WSB Cape Cobras 529
Cobras won by an innings and 71 runs