Maharaj, Zondo strengthen Dolphins' first-place spot

File photo - Keshav Maharaj claimed figures of 6 for 86, helping Dolphins to a 72-run first-innings lead AFP

Keshav Maharaj and Khaya Zondo's dominating first-innings performances against Lions helped Dolphins consolidate their lead at the top of the table in the Sunfoil Series. Zondo struck his seventh first-class century, an unbeaten 290-ball 141 that included 21 fours, to lift Dolphins to 339 in the first innings after they opted to bat in Pietermaritzburg.

Vaughn van Jaarsveld chipped in with a brisk 53. Seam-bowling allrounder Dwaine Pretorius claimed his fifth five-wicket haul in first-class matches, returning figures of 5 for 54. In reply, the Lions were quickly reduced to 4 for 49. Dominic Hendricks and Pretorius brought the Lions some respectability with a 91-run partnership.

After Hendricks was dismissed for 78, Kagiso Rapulana hit a patient 52 to push Dolphins' total to 267. Left-arm spinner Maharaj finished with figures of 6 for 86.

Entering the fourth day with a lead of 72, Dolphins set up a late declaration after posting 189 for 5 in 51 overs, taking the safety-first approach to ensure the Lions didn't have enough time to bowl them out. Zondo struck a 139-ball 54. Left-arm fast bowler Beuran Hendricks took 3 for 48. The Lions chose not to go after the steep target of 262, as the game petered out into a draw.