March 16, 2001

Easterns on top but refuse to enforce follow on

Marcus Prior - MWP

After the events of recent days in Kolkata, it would come as little surprise if there was a contagious fear of following on sweeping through the cricketing world at present.

If there is, it struck at the beautiful winelands ground in Paarl on Friday where visitors Easterns produced a sterling bowling effort in oppressive heat and then opted not to ask Boland to bat again. By stumps, Easterns had reached 29/0 in their second innings, a lead of exactly 200.

The Boland first innings batting performnce, where they could manage just 169, was so poor that it might have been argued that the home side could have done with a bit of batting practice. Just as last week against Border, James Henderson was the only batsmen to properly take root, eventually ninth out for an extremely well compiled 86, which included nine fours.

The damage was done at the top of the order, and it was done by an unlikely havoc-wreaker. Seventeen-year-old Brendan Reddy had picked up only one first-class victim before this game in his brief career, but the decidedly pacey youngster steamed in to take three wickets in six balls and leave Boland in trouble at 19/3.

Although Louis Koen (31) and Jonathan Trott (22) looked fluent as they made brisk starts, they also fell at crucial moments. With both removed - Trott to a stunner of a catch by Dylan Jennings behind the stumps - Gareth Flusk (3/55) dealt with the middle order and Pierre de Bruyn (4/34) wrapped up the tail.

Earlier, the final two Easterns wickets had done well to stretch the first innings total to 340 on a pitch where the accumulation of runs is always a methodical rather than a carefree exercise. Anthony Botha was left standing on 49, while Henry Williams (5-66) took the last two wickets to return his fourth five-wicket haul in consecutive matches.