October 14, 1999

SSS: Border v Easterns at East London, Day One

Wayne Wiblin's 80 in four hours off 207 balls and including 10 fours was perhaps not the most attacking innings from a batsman who likes nothing better than lashing leather with willow. But it was a vital intervention in an innings that was on the skids at 70-3.

Not that Easterns did not deserve their advantage. Andre Nel's first eight overs cost as many runs and he had Botha caught behind into the bargain, while Phil Simmons used his experience in posting a first spell of 2-13 off eight.

The rot stopped with Wiblin and Mark Boucher, who shared 84 runs in their defiant fourth-wicket partnership before left-arm spinner Ant Botha sent Boucher packing. He was replaced by a batsman of equally impressive backbone, Border captain Pieter Strydom, and Border's rehabilitation was completed with a fifth-wicket stand of 78.

Wiblin eventually tossed away his opportunity to score what would have been his sixth first-class century with a ragged drive which saw him caught behind, but his job was done.

Strydom, dropped on 11 at mid-wicket by Aldo van den Berg off Botha, is still there on 65 with the precocious talent of Laden Gamiet, who is six not out, at the other end.