Dutch take first-day honours
The Netherlands dominated the first day of their Intercontinental Cup match against Bermuda in Pretoria on Tuesday, with the highlight another fine century from Ryan ten Doeschate (right) as the Dutch reached 235 for three by the close.
Ten Doeschate batted for most of the day, hitting a chanceless 138 to follow his 158 against Kenya in March. He shared a record-breaking second-wicket partnership of 189 with opener Tom de Grooth, who made 61 - his highest first-class score.
Luuk van Troost won the toss and elected to bat, and on a damp wicket which gave the bowlers plenty of encouragement, Saleem Mukuddem achieved a vital early breakthrough, bowling Bas Zuiderent with the first ball of the second over of the match. It was Kevin Hurdle, however, who put most pressure on the batsmen, with an opening spell in which he conceded just two runs in five overs.
De Grooth was especially watchful, while ten Doeschate gradually began to go onto the offensive, and it was he who swung Mukuddem away for two fours in the tenth over of the morning.
Only 26 runs came in the first hour, but a further 57 were added in the second, ten Doeschate reaching 48 not out by the interval, made off 84 balls, with seven fours. De Grooth’s 28 had come off 105 balls, with two fours.
It was a frustrating afternoon for The Netherlands in Pretoria, with just 7.2 overs possible between lunch and tea, in the course of which Tom de Grooth and Ryan ten Doeschate brought the total to 97 for one and extended their partnership to 95.
Ten Doeschate reached his fifty with a fine straight six almost immediately after lunch, but it was the weather which had the upper hand, with a sharp thunderstorm causing an hour-long delay, and only a further three overs possible before another shower drove the players from the field again. Tea was then taken early, and as the weather improved gradually a further 33.4 overs could be bowled through to stumps.
Bermudan skipper Clay Smith relied heavily on fast men Hurdle and Mukuddem and slow left-armer Dwayne Leverock, switching them from end to end and getting them to bowl all but eleven of day's overs. All three stuck to the task well, and Mukuddem was rewarded when de Grooth finally top-edged a catch to Hurdle at mid-off.
Conscious of the need to win this match, the batsmen had managed to raise the tempo after tea, taking 40 off five overs at one stage. Ten Doeschate, struck painfully in the groin by a ball from Mukuddem, took savage revenge, hitting a succession of boundaries, while de Grooth also punished the loose ball.
Van Bunge took a little time to settle when he replaced de Grooth, but eventually got off the mark by smashing Leverock back over his head for six.
Ten Doeschate finally fell victim to tiredness, top-edging Leverock to give wicketkeeper Minors an easy running catch. His 138 came in 273 minutes from 196 balls, and included 14 fours and two sixes. It was his fourth first-class century, and his second in successive Intercontinental Cup matches.
Alexei Kervezee now joined van Bunge, and they saw the day out safely, Kervezee scampering between the wickets as the Bermudan side began to show signs of tiredness.
Bermuda will be looking for early wickets when the match resumes at 9:30 on Wednesday, while Luuk van Troost will be asking his batsmen to bat Bermuda out of the game and to give the attack a reasonable chance of bowling the opposition out twice.
Weather permitting, this has the makings of a fascinating battle.