Seven centuries in franchise games offer SA cricket hope
There were no positive results in the latest round of franchise first-class matches‚ but there were potential positives in the search for batters who can stay at the Test crease long enough to make a difference.
South Africa returned from India on Friday to face the music in the wake of their worst series in 83 years — a 3-0 thrashing punctuated by two consecutive innings defeats.
What with the South Africans averaging only 21.95 per wicket‚ it can be no bad thing that seven centuries were scored in Kimberley‚ Pietermaritzburg and Port Elizabeth this week.
Most notable was Reeza Hendricks’s undefeated 168 for the Lions against the Knights‚ a career-best effort of more than six-and-a-half hours.
Nicky van den Burgh was around for just more than three hours of the same innings for his 116 not out‚ and shared 200 with Hendricks.
He wasn’t in the centurions’ club‚ but Rassie van der Dussen’s 75 in almost three-and-a-half hours stuck out in the Lions’ second innings.
Grant Roelofsen spent more than five-and-a-half hours on his 133 for the Dolphins against the Cobras; who celebrated Janneman Malan’s 118‚ which took him more than four-and-a-half hours‚ and Matthew Kleinveldt’s 175‚ which endured for close on nine hours.
Yaseen Vallie’s 137 for the Warriors was the product of just about five hours of hard graft against the Titans‚ who had Grant Thompson’s 101 stretched past four-and-a-half hours.
Three of those centuries were scored by No. 3 batters‚ two by openers‚ and one each by a No. 4 and 6 — the players who should bank the bulk of the runs‚ which didn’t happen for South Africa in India.
There wasn’t much to report from the bowling side of the fence‚ although considering the failure of South Africa’s spinners to make an impression in India‚ Tabraiz Shamsi — whose 5/66 for the Titans against the Warriors was the only five-wicket haul of the round — may beg to differ.