PIETERMARITZBURG – The Lions ended the first day of their Sunfoil Series against the Dolphins on 202/5 on a day of fluctuating light in Maritzburg.
The heavy rains of Thursday suggested that there may be no play at all on the first day, but the ground staff at The Oval were up in the early hours, making sure that the field was fit for play.
To coax 78 overs of play out of the day was no bad effort, and they will be busy all weekend.
The Lions had won the toss and opted to bat first, and the going was slow upfront.
Robbie Frylinck and Mthokozisi Shezi were nagging, giving very little away. Khaya Zondo used as many as seven bowlers in the first session, as he sought a breakthrough.
Stephen Cook (20) was the first to go, the Lions skipper beaten in the flight, and offering the simplest of return catches to Senuran Muthusamy. The left-arm spinner has had to step up into the breach left by Keshav Maharaj and the unavailable Imran Tahir, and he is improving by the week.
Reeza Hendricks did a lot of honest graft to get to 41 in over two hours, but he then slapped Muthusamy to backward point, where Calvin Savage held on.
Beyond lunch, Frylinck trapped Omphile Ramela (25) on the crease, though the former Cobras’ man looked disappointed in the decision, suggesting he may have got a tickle.
As the day progressed, the Dolphins started to get the ball to reverse, with Shezi getting more into the game when he switched ends.
He beat the bat several times but, ironically, it was two of his poorer deliveries that got him the scalps of Nicky van den Bergh and Dwaine Pretorius.
Both players must be disappointed with the stroke they played, as they looked to cash in on short and wide deliveries, only to nick it behind to Morné van Wyk. It was bizarre, but the Dolphins were very happy to take it on a day of hard toil.
As the afternoon wore on, the sun that had shone in patches disappeared, and the Dolphins were instructed to utilise only their slow bowlers, due to the diminishing light.
Rassie van der Dussen (55 not out) and young Wiaan Mulder (31 not out) then saw out the day’s proceedings, as honours were shared between both teams and Mother Nature.
Lions 202/5 (Rassie van der Dussen 55 not out, Reeza Hendricks 41; Mthokozisi Shezi 2/14, Senuran Muthusamy 2/57)