Titans take control at the Wanderers
Northerns Titans paceman David Townsend exploited a disappointing batting performance from the Highveld Strikers to earn his side a 186-run lead on the second day of their Supersport Series match at the Wanderers on Saturday.
Townsend took three wickets as the Strikers limped to the close on 170 for eight in response to the Titans' first innings total of 356 all out.
Earlier in the day, the Titans resumed on 306 for seven and with Steve Elworthy on 39 not out. Elworthy unleashed a hard-hitting and unbeaten 75 to further bolster the Titans' innings.
The veteran of Northerns cricket hit 10 fours and three sixes off the 115 balls he faced, and carried his bat when Northerns were bowled out for 356.
Andrew Hall led the Strikers' bowling attack, taking 5-93 as both he and Clive Eksteen wrapped up the Titans tail in the morning.
Having done themselves little justice with ball in hand, the Strikers then failed in their attempt to prove themselves as a batting side. Only Adam Bacher stood out with 61.
Sven Koenig was the first to make the long Wanderers walk back to the changeroom, dismissed for 16 by a catch at mid-wicket from Greg Smith off a ball from Elworthy that was pitched wide outside the off-stump.
David Townsend then stepped into the attack for Northerns, and made the most vital breakthrough of the day shortly after lunch.
Having just returned to the Titans side after a previous season where he was plagued by injury, Townsend had settled into an excellent rhythm.
Bowling a good line and length, Townsend had Andre Seymore caught behind and then took Daryll Cullinan for a duck with his very next ball, lifting out the latter's off-stump with embarrassing ease.
Bacher was left to fend for himself, although he was given some support by Zander de Bruyn.
The duo shared in a fourth-wicket stand of 61 runs before a horrendous run-out. It was sparked by some excellent fielding from Allahudien Paleker, who did well to stop a boundary off Bacher's bat.
The batsmen were busy on the third run when, despite being three-quarters of the way down the pitch, Bacher suddenly stopped and joined De Bruyn running to the same end. De Bruyn paid the price for the mistake.
The weight of the innings eventually proved to great for the shoulders of Bacher to bear. With a much-needed century certainly beckoning, Bacher went out to the tamest of deliveries from Townsend, caught at point by Neil McKenzie.
There was little resistance after that. But it has to be said that the Strikers' batting did not make it very hard for the Titans to take wickets.