February 1, 2001

Northerns and Border find runs hard to come by

Telford Vice - MWP

POOR batting and useful bowling by two potent attacks on a pitch of variable bounce saw 15 wickets fall on the first day.

By the close, Border were 76 runs behind on 114 for five in reply to Northerns' first innings of 190.

Not that the pitch was a major factor in all that timber tumbling, even allowing for the odd bout of variable bounce. After all, Northerns captain Gerald Dros won the toss and batted.

Alas, the batting fairly reeked of ill discipline, while the bowling on both sides was out of the top drawer, helped not a little by the significant swing on offer.

Border took wickets with pure pace, in the form of Makhaya Ntini's three for 32, medium pace, with Piet Botha picking up three for 16, and spin, off-spinner Geoff Love taking three for 58.

David Townsend bowled aggressively to do the damage for Northerns with figures of three for 25, while Steve Elworthy was his steady self in taking two for 33.

Bowling honours on the day probably belonged to veteran all-rounder Botha, who went for nine runs in his first over and then bowled immaculately to concede just seven runs in his remaining eight overs.

Border also held some good catches, epitomised by Laden Gamiet's diving effort at backward point to remove Jacques Rudolph.

Northerns were 71 for three at lunch and were dismissed with what became the last ball before tea. Their scorecard would have made even more mournful reading were it not for a sixth-wicket stand of 57 between Dros and the nuggety Kruger van Wyk.

Fittingly Dros and Van Wyk made the two highest scores of the innings, 35 and 30 respectively, before being dismissed an over apart.

The continuation of the unfinished partnership of 42 between captain Pieter Strydom, who was 33 not out, and Gamiet, on 18, would seem to be Border's most viable option for taking a substantial first innings lead.