CAPE TOWN – A late burst by Rory Kleinveldt, who was on a hat trick, helped the Cape Cobras claw their way back into the game in their opening Four-Day Series clash against the Knights at Newlands on Monday.
The visitors from the central region looked set on taking the honours for the day at 272/6 in the 89th over, with Ryan McLaren and Chris Dry sharing a partnership of 93.
But then paceman Kleinveldt struck with the second new ball to claim his first wicket of the day, with Pieter Malan taking the catch to dismiss Dry for 46 (off 105 balls, 7x4).
That sparked a mini-collapse, with Kleinveldt dismissing Duanne Olivier (2) in his next over and Ottniel Bartman for a first-ball duck.
Last man in Tshepo Ntuli survived the hat-trick ball, but new Cobras fast bowler Tladi Bokako wrapped up the innings for 279 by getting rid of McLaren for 52 (130 balls, 8x4).
The Knights, though, will be pleased with their recovery efforts after being reduced to 36/3 after just 10 overs.
Proteas swing bowler Dane Paterson was devastating with the new ball under cloudy Cape Town skies, after Cobras captain Dane Piedt won the toss and elected to field first.
Paterson snared all three early wickets – Luthando Mnyanda, Grant Mokoena and Keegan Petersen – and it looked like the Cobras were going to run through the rest of the Knights batting line-up easily.
But captain Pite van Biljon and wicket-keeper Rudi Second knuckled down, and showed the kind of application that the top-order lacked.
They put together a vital partnership of 119 for the fourth wicket, but Second (47) missed out on his half-century when he became Bokako’s first scalp of the day.
Patrick Kruger followed two balls later to Bokako for no score, leaving the Knights reeling at 155/5.
Van Biljon, meanwhile, reached his 15th first-class hundred, but was unable to hang around longer as he was bowled by Mthiwekhaya Nabe exactly 100 (151 balls, 16x4, 2x6).
McLaren and Dry steadied the Knights innings after that, and the visitors will be glad that they managed to post a reasonable first-innings total.
WICKET | Great low catch from Pieter! 👏
Kleinveldt picks up his second in as many overs, as Duanne Olivier (2*) is dismissed after a well-taken catch by Malan.
KNI: 276/8 after 90.3 overs. #COBvKNI #4DaySeries pic.twitter.com/bILeWRkd8x
Bokako had the best figures of the Cobras bowlers with 3/51 in 15.1 overs, with Kleinveldt claiming 3/56 and Paterson 3/67.
Malan brothers Janneman and Pieter saw the Cobras to the close on 12/0, and the hosts will hope to bat “big” on day two.