Easterns win as Bodi gets an earful
Easterns scrambled to a 108-run victory over a defiant KwaZulu-Natal in their four-day Supersport Series match at Willowmoore Park on Monday.
With a lead of 334 runs at the start of play and Natal on 73 for three, Easterns seemed to be heading towards a comfortable second victory in as many weeks over the Dolphins.
But the unheralded Goolam Bodi arrived at the crease for Natal and quickly changed all of that with his 104 runs off only 94 balls, including 11 fours and six sixes.
It easily eclipsed his previous first-class best of 33 for Transvaal B against Western Province B in the 1996/97 season.
"There was lot of chirp out there and it got quite abusive at times, but I'm glad I've got that 100 now," Bodi said.
Bodi was also the backbone of a 131-run partnership with Ross Veenstra for the eighth wicket that took Natal to within 139 runs of their target.
But the home team were eventually bowled out for 298, giving Easterns a deserved - albeit belated - victory.
"We didn't bowl as well as we wanted to in the second innings. We got the win the hard way, but it's still a win," said Easterns skipper Deon Jordaan.
Bodi's innings was a rare display of batting proficiency amidst four days when Natal have batted poorly to say the least.
For an Easterns side that has a red rose as its emblem, the diminutive Bodi was truly the thorn in their side on a day when rain also threatened their hopes of victory.
Twice Easterns thought they had the better of Bodi, and twice the third umpire had to confirm this.
The first occasion was when Bodi reached his century off a controversial six.
The catch was taken by Gareth Flusk at deep mid-wicket, with the fielder perilously close to the boundary rope.
Bodi stood firm while Flusk claimed the catch. But the third umpire declared that Bodi was not out, with Flusk admitting at the drinks break that he did indeed step on the rope.
The second and decisive decision came with Bodi returning to the middle shortly after a rain delay and on 104.
Andre Nel had been frustrated in his attempts to dismiss Bodi, but finally made the breakthrough when the batsman edged a delivery to Derek Crookes in the slips.
Bodi was again unconvinced. The replay was also hardly conclusive, but Bodi's luck in this fickle game clearly did not stretch that far, and he was given out with Natal on 248.
Natal added 50 more runs before Easterns could raise their arms in triumph, claiming their second victory in as many weeks over Natal after their Standard Bank Cup win here as well.
Easterns keeper Dylan Jennings capped a fine match with eight catches behind his name - only two short of his father Ray's shared record of 10 catches in a first-class match.