Stephen Cook’s third Sunfoil Series hundred in as many games secured a first-innings lead for the Highveld Lions on day two of their clash against the Dolphins in Johannesburg on Friday. After the bizhub Highveld Lions had bowled out the Dolphins for 302 on the second morning, Cook continued his excellent form as he scored 122 in a Lions total of 356/5. The opener now has three centuries in his last five first-class games, and his scores for his last six first-class innings read: 156, 5, 26, 147*, 122 and 122.
His century came after Kagiso Rabada had picked up his first five-wicket haul in first-class cricket in his 10th game in the format, as he recorded figures of 5/72 from 25.4 overs. Rabada had shared seven wickets with Hardus Viljoen on the first day, and they each picked up a scalp on the second as the Dolphins added just 13 runs to their overnight total of 289/8. Viljoen finished with figures of 4/52 from 22 overs, and although Daryn Smit was able to return to the crease after retiring hurt on day one, it didn’t matter as the Lions pace duo cleaned up the tail.
Cook shared an opening partnership of 54 with Rassie Van Der Dussen (29), and then added 124 with Alviro Petersen, who shuffled down to number three on his return to the Lions four-day side. Petersen scored 68 before he was trapped lbw by Graham Hume, who inflicted the same fate on Neil McKenzie in his next over. Temba Bavuma then led a Lions counter-attack as he scored 51 from just 64 balls, with Cook playing second fiddle in an 85-run stand for the fourth wicket that put the hosts in firm control.
Although Bavuma fell to Keshav Maharaj and Cook was bowled around his legs as he tried to work a Tshepo Moreki delivery to the on-side, Dominic Hendricks and Chris Morris saw the Lions into the lead and then added an unbroken stand of 78. Morris struck a 53-ball half-century before closing the day on 52, while Hendricks recorded a more measured 30 not out as the pair set the Lions up for a considerable first-innings advantage.