For once, the Highveld Lions lacked a standout contribution with the bat, but their collective strength ensured that they set themselves up for a substantial first-innings lead over the Knights on day two of the Sunfoil Series clash in Bloemfontein. Stephen Cook’s phenomenal run of hundreds has grabbed the attention over the past month, but the bizhub Highveld Lions captain will have been equally pleased to see the batsmen below him step up after he made a rare low score. Cook was out for 19 on the second morning as the Lions began their reply to the Knights’ 248 all out, but the next four batsmen all scored half-centuries to leave the visitors on 320/4 at the close of play.
Those four contributions translated into two century stands that sapped the energy out of the Chevrolet Knights bowlers, the first of them coming after Cook had been dismissed by Duanne Olivier in the 11th over of the innings. Dominic Hendricks was enjoying another opportunity in the Lions line-up as he replaced Alviro Petersen at number 3, and he duly put on 103 for the second wicket with Rassie Van Der Dussen. The Knights enjoyed a minor resurgence when Van Der Dussen fell to Malusi Siboto for 70 and Hendricks was caught behind off the bowling of Werner Coetsee for 71, but another century stand consolidated the Lions’ advantage and moved them into the lead.
This time Neil McKenzie and Temba Bavuma combined to add 109 for the fourth wicket – a partnership that was only broken seven overs before stumps when the latter was caught behind off the bowling of Olivier for 57. McKenzie batted on to end the day unbeaten on 72, while Thami Tsolekile was 14 not out alongside him.