Missed tons mark Lions’ first day

Batsmen undone by poor shots off Warriors’ Harmer The bizhub Highveld Lions battled back from 83/4 to 302/8 at the end of the first day of their Sunfoil Series clash with the Warriors at the Bidvest Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg. While both sides enjoyed spells of dominance, this innings will be remembered for two centuries that should have been as the hosts climbed back out of a hole – thanks to a recordb reaking 180-run fifth-wicket partnership between Nicky van den Burgh (99) and Dwaine Pretorius (97). Both batsmen would have had a restless night’s sleep as two poor shots off the bowling of Simon Harmer (2/105) in the space of three overs accounted for their respective stumbles just short of their milestones. Van den Burgh was majestic and composed throughout his innings, driving through the covers with grace and patiently accumulating singles when on offer. He hardly put a foot wrong until he lofted an innocuous delivery to deep square leg – where he was well caught by Edward Moore, one run short of his second consecutive hundred in as many games. It was his only mistake through - out his innings and only he will know why he did not elect to knock it along the deck for an easy single. It was a cruel way to go but he only has himself to blame. Pretorius, belligerent as ever, proved the perfect partner for Van den Burgh as he smashed the ball to all parts of the Bull Ring including the second tier of the Centenary stand off the part-time offspin of Colin Ackermann. He constantly sought to attack the spinners and on the odd occasion when it did not come out of the middle of his bat, was lucky to clear the inner ring. However, as with his partner, it was a seemingly harmless ball that got him. After just crunching Harmer for six over the long off boundary to bring his score to 97, Pretorius could not keep a pull shot down and picked out low-diving Lesiba Ngoepe at short mid-wicket. He whacked his bat on the ground in frustration, knowing he had missed out. Meanwhile at Newlands in Cape Town, Shaun von Berg picked up five wickets as the BuildNat Cape Cobras were bowled out for 235 before the Multiply Titans raced to 108/1 at stumps on the first day of their Sunfoil Series match. Legspinner Von Berg finished on 5/88 as the Cobras were bowled out with 20 overs left. Aiden Markram, who was coming off a debut century for the Titans, then blasted his way to a fifty off just 48 balls, as the Titans shrugged off the early loss of Heino Kuhn (9) to end the day trailing the hosts by just 127 runs on the first innings. At Kingsmead in Durban, Robin Peterson completed a six-wicket haul before the Hollywoodbets Dolphins reached 285/9 at stumps on the first day of their Sunfoil Series match against the VKB Knights. Left-arm spinner Peterson, who ended with 6/71 off 20 overs, was at the heart of a collapse which saw the Dolphins lose seven wickets for the addition of just 70 runs.