George Linde’s four-wicket haul on Sunfoil Series debut prevented the Cape Cobras from falling out of touch with the Highveld Lions on day three at Newlands. With the bizhub Highveld Lions gaining a 107-run lead on first innings thanks to Dwaine Pretorius and Eddie Leie, who each took three wickets, the visitors were in an excellent position to set up their victory push. Although they will still go into the final day with a good chance of gaining their second win of the campaign, they were held up by Linde’s 4/60 in 23 overs, which left them 166/7 at the close of play.
While their lead of 273 looks handsome on a pitch that is becoming increasingly difficult to bat on, the Lions would have been even further ahead and closer to a declaration had it not been for Linde’s wickets and some economical bowling from the rest of the Nashua Cape Cobras attack. The Cobras added just 34 runs to their overnight total of 214/4 before they lost Dane Vilas for 89, as he was trapped lbw by Pretorius (3/34). Leie (3/82) ensured that wickets continued to fall regularly, while run-outs accounted for Justin Ontong (89) and Beuran Hendricks.
The Cobras ended up being bowled out for 306 on the stroke of lunch, after which the Lions second innings began with Stephen Cook and Rassie Van Der Dussen putting on 48 for the opening stand. Mthokozisi Shezi snapped that when he had Van Der Dussen (33) caught behind, sparking a collapse that saw the Lions lose three wickets for 15 runs in eight trying overs. As he had in the first innings, Neil McKenzie led a fightback but was stopped on 44 by Ontong, while Linde took care of Devon Conway and Thami Tsolekile.
The left-arm spinner then trapped Pretorius lbw off the final ball of the day to leave the game intriguingly poised going into the final day.