The Nashua Titans face a desperate fight for survival in their Sunfoil Series match against the bizhub Highveld Lions. Under gloomy skies at the Bidvest Wanderers Stadium, the start of play was delayed by some 45 minutes with twelve overs being reduced from the day’s ration, but it was enough time for the Lions to dismiss the Titans, enforce the follow on, and claim the first wicket.
By lunch the Titans had advanced to a shaky 66 for one, still 117 in arrears, and were fortunate to lose just one wicket.
Imran Tahir made short work of the tail. Brought on for the second over of the day, he saw the middle stump knocked back first ball as JP de Villiers tried to smash the first ball he faced out of the ground. Ethy Mbhalati prodded a catch to short leg in his next over, dismissing the Titans for a paltry 120 in reply to the Lions’ first innings of 303. With a lead of 183, Lions captain Stephen Cook did not hesitate to ask the visitors to bat again.
Chris Morris had a wild start, bowling two wides in his first over, but at the other end Cliffe Deacon was given the new ball after his three wicket return in the first innings. His third ball brought forth a confident lbw appeal against Pieter Malan, and the next took the inside edge. Malan’s reprieve was short-lived, as Morris hit the top of off stump with the first ball of the third over. Jacques Rudolph and Henry Davids saw things through until the break. It was hardly plain sailing though. Several balls flew away off the edge, and Davids was dropped in successive overs. Cook put down a chance at short leg, but Imran Tahir had a bit more time to react on the fine leg boundary in the next over. Deacon and Zander de Bruyn were the unlucky bowlers, and Davids was able to move on to 26 before lunch was called. Rudolph will resume on 25.
The Titans still have a mountain to climb to save this match, and will be hoping for more intervention from the weather. Fans of the Warriors and the Cape Cobras will also be doing the rain dance as the Lions threaten to close the gap at the top of the log.
Bonus points to date: Lions 8.06, Titans 4.