Bermuda take first innings points in Pretoria
Bermuda have gradually taken their Intercontinental Cup match away from The Netherlands on the crucial third day, after the Dutch bowlers had the better of the first session.
In a tense morning's play in Pretoria, The Netherlands captured four Bermudian wickets, but a fine century by Glamorgan's David Hemp, well supported by Saleem Mukuddem, saw them through to 432 for six when bad light stopped play 45 minutes early. A heavy thunderstorm then ensured that there would be no resumption today.
If the match was evenly poised at lunch, the afternoon belonged to Bermuda. The fulcrum of the game was a four-over passage immediately after lunch, when Hemp and Mukuddem took the spinners by the scruff of the neck, forcing Dutch skipper Luuk van Troost to resort to the new ball.
Van Troost kept switching his bowlers throughout the day, and even bowled a couple of brief spells himself, but he was handicapped by the absence of seamer Billy Stelling, who bowled just two overs with the new ball before leaving the field, feeling unwell.
Ten Doeschate, Borren, van Bunge and Kashif all bowled well before lunch, with ten Doeschate in particular causing all kinds of problems for the Bermudian batsmen. His first spell of twelve overs cost just 28 runs, with the wickets of opener Steven Outerbridge and captain Clay Smith thrown in.
Outerbridge was more subdued this morning than he had been yesterday, but he took his total through to 80 - his best first-class score - before he was bowled by a near-yorker.
Smith and Hemp then played through a sticky period, with ten Doeschate, van Bunge and Kashif clearly on top, until Smith was given leg-before to the former, a decision with which he was evidently not impressed. He stood his ground and then left the field very, very slowly, behaviour which was subsequently deemed a Level One offence and for which he received a formal reprimand.
Janeiro Tucker made 10 before skying Kashif to Borren at midwicket, and Dean Minors was soon trapped in front by van Bunge when he switched to the southern end for the first time.
Hemp, meanwhile, had played himself in, and began to display his full range of strokes. He reached his fifty, made off 86 balls with eight fours, in the final over before lunch.
He and Mukuddem continued with increasingly confidence after the interval, quickly seeing off the spinners and forcing van Troost to resort to the new ball. But this made little difference, and although ten Doeschate and Borren bowled with great heart and without much luck, they were unable to secure the breakthrough.
Hemp demonstrated for the first time what his county experience can mean for Bermuda, reaching his twenty-sixth first-class hundred (and his first for Bermuda) in 206 minutes, off 159 balls and with fifteen fours and a six. His cover driving was often elegant, but he scored freely all round the wicket as he began to take command.
He and Mukuddem have added 213, an Intercontinental Cup record for the seventh wicket and comfortably the highest first-class partnership for any wicket for Bermuda. Mukuddem had reached 89, his highest first-class score, by the time the batsmen were offered the light and elected to leave the field, while Hemp had gone through to 143.
Weather permitting, they will resume tomorrow morning, with Bermudian coach Gus Logie looking to bat on and set The Netherlands a target in the region of 150-200. Barring highly dramatic reversals, however, this match now seems likely to end in a draw, giving Canada the certainty of a place in next year's Intercontinental Cup final.