North West player Davey Jacobs became the king of Lenasia as he played The Rest of South Africa XI back into a strong position against Sri Lanka at the end of day three of the four-day match.
Losing three sessions in the first three days was always going to result in a tame draw. It was, however, Jacobs who put the spark back into the match. Coming to the crease in the third over of the South African innings he scored a magnificent hundred in 153 minutes.
With the Lenasia faithful arriving to watch Muttiah Muralitharan bowl, Jacobs, who turns 20 on the 4th November, stole the show away from arguably the world's best spinner. Dropped when on 43, off the bowling of Muralitharan, he took 67 runs in 60 balls including seven fours and two sixes off the off spinner. Jacobs put together an entertaining 146 (22x4, 2x6) with the majority of his runs coming on the on side.
"I have hardly ever played a slog sweep or even a reverse sweep, but decided at lunch that today was the day," the young batsman said. Both slog sweeps sailed over the wide mid-wicket fence and the reverse sweep ended just short of going for the maximum. "We had decided before the innings that we would play our shots and sweep against the spinner, and it paid off," Jacobs added.
His dominance was reflected in the 159 partnership with Hashim Amla with the latter only scoring 40.
The day had started in bright sunlight, in contrast to the first two days, with Sri Lanka resuming their innings on 315 for five wickets. Batting on for eight overs they moved the total along to 336/5 before the declaration came.
Fernando having gone to his fifty in the second over of the morning was not out on 57 and Tillakaratne not out on 79.
Rest of South Africa started in a rush before captain Ahmed Amla top edged a pull to square leg losing the first wicket on 15. A 55 partnership between Jacobs and James Henderson followed before the latter was trapped leg before by Chamile Gamage Lakshitha for 30 and the hosts 70/2.
Once Hashim Amla had been trapped in front by Muralitharan the wickets started falling regularly. Three down for 229 became four for 243 when Jacobs left on 146 caught at extra cover. Joubert followed soon after tea bowled by Muralitharan for 11 (268/5) and Con de Lange left with the score on 280 trapped in front by Muralitharan for five. A mini collapse for the locals, going from 229/2 to 280/6.
Jon Kent showed some resistance and in going to his fifty was brilliantly caught by Perera at deep mid on, diving forward and to his left, for 48.
Kruger van Wyk and Garnett Kruger helped the score past the Sri Lanka first innings total of 336 to end on 368/8 when bad light stopped play on day three.