A stunning counter-attack by Andrew Birch gave the Warriors the edge as their Sunfoil Series clash against the Cape Cobras continued to swing back and forth on day three at St. George’s Park. Birch, who had already taken 3/62 in the Nashua Cape Cobras innings, arrived at the wicket with the Warriors 176/6 in their second innings, leading by just 180 and in danger of setting a relatively meagre target. He duly struck an unbeaten 50 in just 42 balls, with all but four of his runs coming in boundaries, to carry the hosts to stumps on a fairly comfortable 254/6.
With a lead of 258 on a pitch that is yet to produce an individual score above 62, the Chevrolet Warriors can begin to entertain ideas of a mid-morning declaration in a final-day push for victory. The first half of the third morning session belonged to the Cobras, who resumed on 137/7 and would have been grateful to their lower order for extending the innings to 199. Aviwe Mgijima’s 26 proved valuable and Lizaad Williams (19 not out) and Dane Paterson (17) also contributed to the visitors conceding no more than a four-run deficit on first innings.
David White (27) and Michael Price gave the Warriors the foundation their second innings required as they put on 69, and at 105 for one the hosts were sitting pretty. However, Mgijima had Price caught for 62, before Justin Kemp (2/38) and Paterson (2/62) made inroads as the Warriors lost four for 37. While that forced captain Colin Ingram into defensive mode as he scraped his way to 44 not out from 91 deliveries, Birch went on the attack to brilliant effect, hitting 10 fours and a six in his 53-minute knock.
The Cobras will need to dislodge both batsmen early on the final morning, and will at least have the advantage of using a second new ball that is only two overs old.