JOHANNESBURG – Making more of their starts with the bat, was one of a couple of areas Titans coach Mark Boucher felt his side could improve this season.
So their first innings total here will most likely have been annoying for him.
“Last season we got ourselves in and then got out, there were soft dismissals and then you end up getting 300 and that’s not really winning you a game, in the conditions we had last season. To win a game, you need 400 or 400 plus,” Boucher said ahead of this season opener.
The conditions for this Four-Day Series match are perhaps not what are typical for SuperSport Park - the pitch is not as pacy, although the bounce is true and if the fast bowlers put their backs into it the ball does ‘jump.’
But it is a pitch on which someone should have made a three figure score, and thus with some support, provided a foundation for a total of greater substance.
STUMPS: Chris Morris and Eldred Hawken bowled three overs between them before the close of play on Day 2 of #TTNvDOL— The Titans (@Titans_Cricket) September 27, 2018
The Dolphins 12-3 with Roelofsen (5*) and Oakes (7*).
The Titans lead by 27. pic.twitter.com/1A5e2coWIj
As it is the Titans have control of this match, but only just, on account of the 27-run lead with which they will start day three on Friday, but it could and possibly should have been so much more. Letting the last three Dolphins wickets add more than 120 runs was irksome and that was followed on Thursday by five batsmen getting to at least 30, but not going on to make something more substantial.
Eldred Hawken, the nightwatchman is the only one of those who deserved a let off for his innings of 52 was certainly a bonus. But the rest of their experienced batting unit didn’t cash in.
Theunis de Bruyn, back in Tshwane after spending a couple of years in the Free State will definitely be unhappy about not going on after making 34, when he loosely pulled Senuran Muthusamy to Cody Chetty at midwicket. These are an important few weeks for De Bruyn, who despite a very fine century for the Proteas in difficult circumstances in Sri Lanka is not established in the Test team yet, so every opportunity must be made to count at franchise level.
The Titans would have been grateful to their veteran pair Henry Davids and stand-in skipper Farhaan Behardien, who put on 79 for the fifth wicket, but again, the opportunity to assert total control was gifted away by some loose shots by both outside the off-stump; Davids after he made 35 and Behardien after he’d made the innings’ top score 68.
Calvin Savage, a gritty hard working all-rounder, was the Dolphins’ best bowler finishing with 4/61, while their skipper Keshav Maharaj produced a typically sterling effort toiling away from the Hennops River End for 24 overs, conceding just 46 runs and taking one wicket.
They have kept the Dolphins in touch in this match and it will be interesting to see how much pressure they can put on the defending champions as the game heads into the weekend.
Results - Day 2 of 4:
HollywoodBets Dolphins 269 and 12/0
Multiply Titans 308