Cape Cobras 570 for 4 (Duminy 260*, Vilas 216*) drew with Lions 252 (Cook 118, Peterson 5-62) and 287 for 9 (Pretorius 101, Peterson 4-88)
Career-best scores from Test discards JP Duminy (260*) and Dane Vilas (216*) were not enough for Cape Cobras to secure their first win of the Sunfoil Series, after Lions hung on for a draw on what seemed a flat Paarl pitch. Made to follow-on after Cobras' 570, Lions were in trouble at 134 for 5 on the last day, but a century from Dwaine Pretorius helped them finish the day on 287 for 9.
Cobras suffered two early losses when their openers were dismissed by the 11th over but piled on runs over the first day and a half, during which Duminy and Vilas sent stern messages to the national selectors. While Duminy remains part of the Test squad, he lost his place in the XI after a loss of form and showed he has found his touch again. Vilas has not been part of the squad since the India tour but showed good intent with a strike rate of over 85 and Cobras seemed to put the match beyond their opposition, with a declaration on the second day.
Lions had a ready response. Stephen Cook, who continues to be overlooked for the Test opening spot, scored his second century - 118 - in as many games and Lions were comfortable on 148 without loss before their first wobble. Two wickets fell on that score before Cook and Dominic Hendricks (46) rebuilt, but then came the collapse. Lions lost eight wickets for 17 runs as Robin Peterson (5 for 62) and pacer Lizaad Williams (3 for 35) ran through them. They had five batsmen dismissed for ducks and three others in single figures, and were forced to follow-on after finishing 318 runs behind.
Cook was the first wicket to fall in their second innings but his opening partner Rassie van der Dussen held on with a patient knock of 72. Lions went into the final day with seven wickets in hand and still 235 runs behind, which would have made Cobras eye an innings win. When Lions slipped to 134 for 5, Cobras would have felt they were closing in but Pretorius defied them.
He scored a century batting at No. 7 and found support from the middle order and the tail. He was eventually removed by Peterson, who finished the match with nine scalps, and was the eighth wicket to fall. Three balls later, Lions lost their ninth at the same score. But Cobras were left frustrated when Aaron Phangiso and Eddie Leie stonewalled for the next 14 overs, faced 85 and 39 balls respectively and kept an attack with four international bowlers out.
Meanwhile, in Pietermaritzburg, the fixture between Dolphins and Warriors was abandoned on the fourth morning after days of persistent rain prevented even the toss from taking place. Warriors remain rooted to the bottom of the points table with Dolphins sitting in fourth place.