CAPE TOWN – The Standard Bank Proteas continued to get maximum value out of the three-day tour match between Zimbabwe and the SA Invitation XI at Eurolux Boland Park on Thursday when Temba Bavuma followed Dale Steyn’s good bowling workout on the first day with his own perfect warm-up innings for next week’s Sunfoil Test match.
On a surface on which all the other batsmen have struggled to score quickly Bavuma stroked his way to what amounted to almost a run a ball innings of 70 (77 balls, 7 fours), sharing an unexpected partnership of 81 along the way with night watchman Tladi Bokako (41 off 62 balls, 4 fours and 2 sixes).
Bavuma had done the hard work the previous innings when the SA side started their innings under the floodlights with the pitch becoming a lot livelier than it had been earlier in the day. With a much more placid surface to encounter on the second morning, the overnight pair made merry, scoring more than 50 runs in the first half-hour off just 8 overs.
Bavuma played a succession of well-timed cover drives which is always the signal of a batsman in good form.
It meant that for the second time this season the Invitation XI has managed to lead its international opponents on the first innings, having achieved the same distinction in the previous match against Bangladesh.
Apart from Steyn and Bavuma, there are not a lot of players with franchise experience in this line-up which suggests that the semi-professional set-up is slowly starting to make progress.
Bokako, Michael Cohen and Dayyaan Galiem are among those who have caught the eye and what has stood out has been the ability to identify and seize the moment. Bokako did it as the night watchman, Cohen in shutting down the Zimbabwe lower-order in the first innings and Galiem with his partnership of 90 for the last wicket with the ring-wise Shaun von Berg that established the lead of 91 runs.
Galiem (57 off 54 balls, 10 fours) came to the crease with Zimbabwe still leading by 3 runs and Von Berg when the South Africans had a precarious lead of just a single.
Galiem excelled both in shot selection and picking length and he truly grabbed the opportunity that was provided when Chris Morris was withdrawn from the squad.
Zimbabwe will be wondering how they let it slip. Their four most experienced bowlers – Graeme Cremer, Christopher Mpofu and Kyle Jarvis – shared 8 wickets between them.
It left them with a tricky 40 overs in the evening’s play.
African News Agency (ANA)