Comprehensive victory for Northerns over Eastern Province
When Northerns captain Martin van Jaarsveld chose not to enforce the follow-on on Friday, you would have been hard-pushed to find anyone at St George's Park who would take money on this Supersport Series Super Eight match against Eastern Province being decided within three days.
That it was can be largely laid at the door of a second seriously deficient batting performance from the home side as they were bowled out for just 149 to lose by a mammoth 368 runs. Yes there was a fine bowling performance from Rudi Bryson, who decimated the top order and finished with fiigures of 5/33, but there was also some poor shot selection amid the knowledge that the cause was close to futile.
Chasing 517 (surely enough said), EP collapsed to 13/3. From that point on, it was purely a question of how long they could make the match last. Never accuse a professional sportsman of being anything but fully committed, but it would have been understandable if a day off sounded more attractive than hanging around fighting a losing cause.
Don't tell that to Carl Bradfield, as the EP captain performed that rare feat of carrying his bat throughout the entire innings as wickets tumbled at the other end. Bradfield finished unbeaten on 64, but his was a lone rearguard action and all the more laudable for it.
Earlier, Northerns had stretched their advantage beyond 500 with more of the same - solid if unspectacular batting. Dirkie de Vos was still there at the declaration on 60, but Meyrick Pringle's four wickets were welcome if not somewhat late and irrelevant as far as the game itself was concerned.
Before this game EP had hopes - admittedly faint ones - of reaching the Supersport Series final. Northerns put them well and truly in their place.