Eagles soar into the lead
The polite indifference which some stars feign when they reflect a fine performance cannot be applied to Mario Olivier, the Warriors fast bowler who last week became the third South African to take 10 wickets in an innings.
"I can't describe how I am feeling," Olivier said. "I am in the clouds. I have just been looking at the scorecard and it is unbelievable. Everything came together today. I had good rhythm and the ball was moving a bit. I couldn't find good rhythm at the beginning of the season but I have been working hard in the nets and today it paid off."
Bert Vogler, who according to Wisden delivered "the off-break with a leg-break action" and could also bowl fast, took 10 for 26 for Eastern Province against Griqualand West in 1906-07. Twenty years ago, Western Province's Stephen Jefferies, the bristling left-arm fast bowler who was denied an international career by apartheid, took 10 for 59 against Free State. And now comes Olivier, who took 10 for 65 - but his haul wasn't enough to deny Eagles heading to a 10-wicket win at Bloemfontein.
The Warriors were dismissed for 215 in their second innings, leaving the Eagles to notch an easy 24-run to win.
The Maritzburg Oval is one of the game's most gracious grounds, resplendent with grand old trees and a creaking pavilion that is propped up by a pair of turreted towers. But the pitch is something else - straight off a rubbish tip. That might have the view of some of the batsmen: 39 fell on the first three days of Dolphins' match against the Cobras at at Pietermaritzburg. Monde Zondeki, the Cobras fast bowler, wasn't complaining after taking match figures of 10 for 93, but the Dolphins had the last laugh when they claimed the last wicket early on the fourth day to win by 47 runs.
In stark contrast, little rose above the level of mediocrity in the drawn match between the Titans and the Lions at Centurion.
SAA Provincial Three-Day Challenge
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Telford Vice is a writer with the MWP media agency in South Africa