Pothas once again stakes a claim
As the Eastern Province openers had done on day one, Adam Bacher and Swen Koenig struggled through the early morning session, but managed to keep the scoreboard ticking over. Some of the boundaries coming from edges and miss-timed drives.
Bacher (34) was first to go with the score on 47, stretching on the drive to Meyrick Pringle and being caught in the covers. Koenig (18) followed with the score on 68 being trapped on the back foot by Dave Callaghan.
This brought Ken Rutherford and Daryll Cullinan together. Cullinan taking 13 balls to get off the mark grew in confidence, while Rutherford found the middle of the bat from ball one. Together they saw the score past Eastern Province's 99 going to lunch at 139/2.
After lunch they accelerated the score along with some fine positive batting, and an exhibition of batting that the small crowd will treasure for a few years. Pulling, hooking, driving and cutting the ball to all areas of the Wanderers ground. By the time tea came Gauteng had progress to 319/4 losing Rutherford (100) and Crookes to Hayward. 180 runs had been scored in the session.
It was Hayward again after tea when he yorked Cullinan with a pearl of a yorker knocking back the off stump. The way Cullinan had been batting up to then must have been a relieve for all of the Eastern Province team. Cullinan had followed his hundred of two weeks back with a gem of 135.
At this stage Gauteng looked set for a total well above 400 and a haul of 6 batting points. With Nick Pothas bringing up his 50 and the Gauteng 350 in the 83rd over things looked as if they were going to plan.
With the South African team to play Zimbabwe in the first test at Bloemfontein only a day away Pothas had once again made a bold statement to the selectors, staking his claim to the South African wicket keeping berth.
Andrew Hall (7), Clive Eksteen (1), and David Terbrugge (0) did not trouble the scorers too much and at 377/8 after 92 overs were in danger of throwing away the sixth bonus point and a very solid foundation looked like crumbling.
Pothas, having survived two confident lbw appeals from Pringle in the 94th over, threw away his wicket in the 99th . After batting so well, and needing four runs for the Gauteng 400, decided to go over the top only to be caught for 89 at cover and Gauteng 396/9. It was left to Kuiler to bring up the 400 and the declaration from Eksteen in the 100th over.
With the shadows extending over the pitch, and 18 overs remaining in the days play, Eastern Province faced the daunting task of scoring 301 runs to make Gauteng bat again. At close of play they had moved along to 23/0 after 13 overs. A long hard day awaits Eastern Province tomorrow.