Warriors have the edge

Knights soldier on gamely, battered by the cruel wind

The Warriors hold a slight advantage heading into day three of their 4-Day Franchise Series cricket clash against the Knights at St George’s Park in Port Elizabeth on Wednesday.
When play was called on Tuesday the Warriors had progressed to 329 for seven, which put them 50 runs ahead of the Knights, who were bowled out for 279 in the morning session.
Colin Ackermann and Eddie Moore made 79 and 75 respectively, while captain Jon-Jon Smuts added 44.
Clyde Fortuin also made a valuable 36, while talented teenager Sinethemba Qeshile was unbeaten on 40.
But the Warriors’ top order will feel that they should have kicked on after getting themselves well set, especially when one considers that Tuesday was not a day for bowling.
In fact, the cricket field was probably the last place the Knights players wanted to be as a cruel westerly battered the Free State fielders for almost the entire day.
The heavy bails, reserved for unpleasant occasions such as these, were rendered useless and dispensed with by the umpires, while the visiting bowlers struggled to stay upright in their delivery strides.
But the Knights, to their credit, soldiered on manfully and as a reward were gifted some top order wickets when they were probably least expecting them.
Much will now depend on how talented teenager Qeshile, Sisanda Magala (3 not out) and the remainder of the tail get on as to how big a lead on the first innings the Warriors will manage to muster on Wednesday.
The innings got off to a cracking start as Moore crashed the ball to the boundary, with his half century coming up in only 45 balls.
He threw the kitchen sink at anything loose and in the end clubbed 14 fours in his 80 balls.
Ackermann then took over, albeit a bit more sedately.
There was some obvious class about the elegant righthanded Kolpak player who was following up on his match-winning second innings hundred against the Dolphins last week.
He faced 157 deliveries, striking 11 boundaries in a stay that lasted almost 200 minutes.
Smuts, who had been struggling for runs, played some aggressive strokes.
His pull shots were savage and he will look to push on even further in the second innings.
Offspinner Tshepo Ntuli bowled with good control for the Knights and was rewarded with the wickets of Moore and Yaseen Vallie (18).
Ottneil Baartman ran in hard for the visitors and picked up two wickets while Duanne Olivier also managed a double strike.
Earlier in the day, the Knights resumed their innings on 276 for eight. They lasted another five overs while adding only three runs to their overnight total.
Seamer Lutho Sipamla, who continues to impress, struck first for the Warriors, bowling Ryan McLaren for 76. McLaren had 14 fours in his innings, which lasted almost four hours.
Anrich Nortje, who had snared five wickets on day one, then wrapped it up, taking his sixth by trapping Baartman in front for a duck.

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