Boland face uphill struggle against Eastern Province
A distinctly below-par performance from Boland on the opening day of this Supersport Series Super Eight game against Eastern Province may not prove terminal to their chances of making an appearance in the final at the end of the month, but it left acres of room for improvement.
On a day which featured one of cricket's more bizarre interruptions of play, Boland were bowled out for just 236 by a determined and disciplined bowling effort from the Jumbos, all the more impressive as it came with the mercury climbing towards forty degrees in the Winelands. By the close, Eastern Province had moved to 21 without loss.
A good start from EP, in which both openers were removed with just 31 on the board, was overshadowed by Mornantau Hayward's first official warning for running on the pitch in his follow through. Hayward was convinced there was something amiss in the alignment of the stumps at either end, and when the man who replaced him, Murray Creed, was similarly admonished, he seemed to have a case.
A ten-minute delay while the groundsman brought out the tape measure decided the matter in Hayward's favour, the stumps found to be fully five centimetres off centre. This was not enough to concern umpire Barry Lambson, who considered the discrepancy 'negligible' and play duly recommenced.
While only Louis Koen (50) and Jonathan Trott (74) ever gained a foothold at the crease, Hayward continued to struggle, eventually ordered from the attack after a second and final warning proved insufficient for a man who has looked a ghostly replica of the fearsome strike bowler only last year considered a genuine - and genuinely exciting - replacement for Allan Donald.
He did, however, have the last laugh over poor Trott, who glanced a delivery speared well down the leg side into the gloves of the diving Wayne Murray behind the stumps. Trott has yet to score a first-class hundred, and his emotional reaction to such a soft dismissal spoke eloquently of his frustration.
The temperatures are due to soar again on Friday, which looks set to be a long, sweltering day in the field for the home side. They need something special - it certainly never happened on day one.