It was the turn of two rookie Cape Cobras batsmen to begin the fightback for the visitors on day two of yet another run-filled Sunfoil Series clash in Port Elizabeth on Friday.
The Cobras could only look on after the Warriors posted 452/6 declared, with Jerry Nqolo (105 not out, 172 balls, 11x4, 1x6) and Clyde Fortuin (92, 14x4, 1x6) putting together a 185-run partnership for the seventh wicket.
The pair came together after the fall of captain Jon-Jon Smuts’ wicket early on, when Dane Paterson trapped the Warriors skipper lbw for 49.
But there was no further success for the Cobras bowlers for another 45.1 overs until Lizaad Williams clean-bowled his former Cobras teammate just eight runs shy of a well-deserved century.
The Cobras’ reply did not get off to the best of starts, with veteran opener Andrew Puttick edging Sisanda Magala behind to Fortuin for just 18.
However, that brought Zubayr Hamza to the crease to join Pieter Malan.
The pair are well-versed with each other’s game plans, having put together many big partnerships for Western Province in the semi-pro ranks in recent years, and it showed in their understanding at the crease.
The duo were unmoved for the remaining 30 overs of the day, with Malan moving to 63 not out (126 balls, 6x4) and Hamza unbeaten on 75 off 105 balls (12x4, 1x6).
The latter was the more free-flowing of the two batsmen and was desperate to take a rare opportunity of playing in the Cobras franchise team.
Malan and Hamza will look to push forward on Saturday with the Cobras on 161/1 – still 291 runs in arrears.