Last week at Newlands, in the second Test between South Africa and England, there were double centuries for Ben Stokes and Hashim Amla while Jonny Bairstow and Temba Bavuma helped themselves to unbeaten centuries. Now, just 60km down the N1 at Boland Park in Paarl, JP Duminy and Dane Vilas shattered the South African record books with an unbroken 393-run partnership for the fifth wicket for the Cape Cobras.
Duminy comfortably beat his previous career-best of 200 not out – ironically at the same venue – by moving to an undefeated 260 off 409 balls (23x4, 2x6) before the Cobras eventually declared on 570/4. Vilas also improved his personal best to 216 not out (20x4, 3x6).
The partnership of 393 off 513 balls in 371 minutes is the most ever on South African soil in first-class cricket, eclipsing the previous record established by Australians Greg Blewett and Steve Waugh who managed 385 against South Africa in 1996-97 for the fifth wicket.
“It was good to spend so much time at the crease. It was pretty much a flattie, but the wicket is starting to break up a bit now and maybe I can get into the game with the ball later on, too,” Duminy said.
“It (a big score) definitely does wonders for the confidence. I don’t think it is really about the score but rather the amount of time spent at the crease. It was tough coming back from the Indian tour where nobody really got much runs, so to spend a long period of time at the crease does give the confidence a boost.”
Both Duminy and Vilas are on the comeback trail after being dropped from the national Test side, although the former has been retained in the 16-man squad for the remaining two Tests against England.
Their performance for the Cobras, though, will surely give national selection convenor Linda Zondi and his panel something to think about before they select the starting XI for the third Test at the Wanderers, starting on Thursday.
“I didn’t think too much about the records along the way. I think overnight when I was on 150, the mind does drift towards the 200-mark, but then you re-focus and start concentrating on working through the processes again to get to the landmark,” Duminy said.
“Batting with Dane was great because he was the aggressor during the partnership. He came in and played really positively and with lots of intent.
“I think his first hundred came off less than 100 balls, so that kind of allowed me just to go quietly about my business.
“It was obviously great for him to get some runs, too, after being left out after the Indian tour.”
Original source: Time at crease does wonders for JP