PIETERMARITZBURG – The Dolphins and the Lions will not get anything substantial out of their Midlands getaway to Maritzburg.
But, when the sun finally shone, they served up an intriguing Sunday spectacle, with runs, wickets and that rare ingredient in these parts: sunshine.
To go with the fair weather, the smattering of seven Proteas, as well as a dozen players who have turned out for South Africa A, made a go of a match that was rendered a dodo when most of the second day was washed out.
By all accounts, the fare on offer was far more engrossing than the putrid capitulation Bangladesh volunteered on TV screens from Bloemfontein.
With the Lions declaring overnight, the Dolphins ended the day on 185/6, with Vaughn van Jaarsveld notching his now obligatory half-century, and then giving away a ton with another lapse in concentration.
Before he departed, his 52 off just 57 balls had seen some of the purest striking you’ll see domestically, as he bludgeoned boundary after boundary with minimum fuss.
Many of the players present in Maritzburg occupy that waiting room between franchise cricket and national colours.
Van Jaarsveld has been in that club for much of his career, and perhaps his latest innings illustrated why.
In full flow, he looked as good as anything the Proteas have; a picture of force, fluidity and function.
And yet, when he skied Aaron Phangiso to long-on, with the game at his destructive mercy, he looked as ordinary as a club cricketer hacking on Sunday afternoon.
Phangiso did the bulk of the work for the visitors, his post-lunch spell of left-arm spin producing 3/23 in a dozen overs of guile.
Though boxed as a white-ball cricketer, he revelled in red, toying with his length expertly and outfoxing several of the Dolphins with the arm ball.
He kept asking questions, and his final analysis of 3/59 in 25 overs could have been even richer with a bit more luck.
The Dolphins openers had enjoyed fortune upfront, as a charged-up Craig Alexander tore in from the City End.
Just last season, he was in Dolphins and KZN Inland colours, so it was no wonder that the tearaway had a bee in his bonnet, and his spell deserved better than he returned.
He had a groping Senuran Muthusamy dropped at slip, Sibonelo Makhanya clattered at cover, and shook up Morné van Wyk with the new ball as he confirmed the fact that the Dolphins miss that extra yard of speed right now.
Van Wyk almost got out three times in an eventful Dwaine Pretorius over, but he was to fall soon after to Bjorn Fortuin as he was stuck on the crease.
Muthusamy fell on the stroke of lunch, with a limp surrender to cover, having grafted for 35.
Makhanya made a skittish 20, and he could have been dismissed thrice before he danced down track and edged the suffocating Phangiso to slip.
Skipper Zondo stood firm, though, using deft footwork and a certain eye to deflect and occasionally drive his way to 38 not out off 104 balls.
Late in the piece, Robbie Frylinck was adjudged to have tickled Fortuin behind, and he grunted his disagreement to the point that the umpires took his name in the naughty black book.
There was little time for anything else beyond that as a glorious day of sunshine suddenly disappeared behind familiar gloom, and bad light stopped play just
It had been fun while it lasted.
Lions 277/7 declared
Dolphins 185/6 (Vaughan van Jaarsveld 52, Khaya Zondo 38 not out; Aaron Phangiso 3/59, Bjorn Fortuin 2/44)
* Lions lead by 92 runs with a day remaining