PAARL – Captain Dane Piedt has said all season that his young Cape Cobras team will encounter some hardships along the way.
After convincingly winning their opening four matches of the season that propelled the Cobras to the top of the 4-Day Domestic Series log, there was a growing feeling that this was only a statement of caution.
But on Tuesday, the second day of the clash against the Highveld Lions, the skipper’s words came home to roost.
The Cobras were bundled out for 138 – their lowest total thus far this season – which gave the Lions a 199-run advantage after the visitors added a further 37 runs to their overnight total to close their innings on 337 at Boland Park.
The home team had no answer to the seam and spin questions the Lions posed, with medium-pacers Nono Pongolo (3/29) and Nandré Burger (2/34) setting up the game for spinners Aaron Phangiso (3/11) and Bjorn Fortuin (2/23) to rip through the Cobras line-up.
The only consolation for the Cobras on another bitterly cold day in Paarl was the performances of Dane Paterson and Zubayr Hamza.
Paterson (5/81) is arguably the form pace bowler of the 4-Day Series, with the Proteas seamer picking up a second consecutive “five-for” to add to the six wickets he claimed last week in the victory over the Dolphins.
Hamza, meanwhile, battled gainfully for his 56 off 113 balls, although the promising right-hander would have been livid with his dismissal just as he was properly settled at the crease.
Ultimately, though, it is the Lions who now sit in the pound seats heading into day three, due to their 303-run overall lead, with Nicky van der Bergh unbeaten on 41 and Fortuin on eight.
The only concern for the visitors would be whether Rassie van der Dussen can return to the crease after being forced to “retire hurt”, after being stung by a bee in the middle without even facing a ball.
WATCH: "It was definitely bizarre," says @LionsCricketSA batsman Rassie van der Dussen after being forced to retire hurt due to a bee sting!! @Rassie72 @IOLsport #COBvLIO #4DaySeries 🐝🐝🐝 pic.twitter.com/z20Ve0disE