The Multiply Titans produced a fighting display with the bat on Friday to make up for their disappointing performance with the ball and are determined to fight until the bitter end in their Sunfoil Series match against the WSB Cape Cobras at Sahara Willowmoore Park.
The Titans finished the second day, cut short by 45 minutes due to bad light, on 168 for three, but after the Cobras made 428 in their first innings, the visitors are in front.
But Andrea Agathagelou, who scored a determined half-century on his four-day debut for the Titans, said the home side are going to do their utmost to close the gap.
“The one thing I can guarantee about this Titans side is that we are not going to hide away, we are going to come out fighting again on Saturday and look to squeeze out a win, even if it means winning on the last ball on the last day,” Agathagelou said.
The consistency of the Titans’ bowling effort again left a lot to be desired as the Cobras resumed on 272 for five and, even though the attack had a new ball 10 overs into the day, the visitors’ last five wickets still managed to add 156 runs on Friday.
Leg-spinner Shaun von Berg struck early on the second day to get rid of Jason Smith (8), but they had to wait until midway through the extended morning session to claim the prize scalp of opener Pieter Malan, whose tenacious 442-minute innings eventually came to an end on 137, when he was caught off Junior Dala.
It was obviously Cobras captain Dane Piedt’s day though as he took advantage of tired bowlers to rack up a pugnacious 74, and he then took all three Titans wickets to fall with his off-spinners.
Left-handed openers Tony de Zorzi (14) and Dean Elgar (24) had no price against deliveries that skidded on straight and were trapped lbw as the Titans slipped to a worrying 51 for two.
But Agathagelou, 28 years old and with experience of county cricket behind him, showed no jitters as he helped to turn the Titans innings around, sharing a third-wicket stand of 82 with Heino Kuhn.
They took no risks, but managed to stroke 18 boundaries between them, mostly with textbook drives.
Agathagelou batted for nearly two hours and reached 51 off 89 balls when he was brilliantly caught at leg-slip by Simon Khomari, the ball going there off the edge as a consequence of some turn Piedt was able to get.
“It’s bittersweet, it was nice to get a start on my debut, but on a pitch like this and in the position we’re in, 150 would have been much better. The wicket is definitely good for batting, they just bowled a bit better than us, we didn’t quite execute our plans.
“It is turning a bit and obviously we know Dane is a quality bowler, but the two dismissals of the left-handers were balls that skidded on and my one might have been a bit soft,” Agathagelou said with some frustration which is a result of the high standards he sets himself.
Kuhn then batted beautifully through to the close to reach 57 not out, and another Sunfoil Series debutant for the Titans, Rivaldo Moonsamy, is going to rejoin him on the third morning on 17 not out.
The Titans’ plan is to get as near as possible to the Cobras score and then unleash Von Berg, and Agathagelou is looking forward to getting another bite at the cherry in the second innings, such is the spirit in the Titans camp.
“It’s always been my dream to play here and it has turned out to be everything I dreamed of. The Titans are incredible blokes and the intensity and pace at which they play is unmatched. I’m very happy to be here and I really want to hit the ground running and keep making runs for them.
“County cricket helped me to grow up, I was quite young when I went over there and I hit a big slump in different conditions – the bowling is a lot slower but it seams around more. So I had to adjust and that has helped me to adapt to tough situations I find myself in,” the Rustenburg-born player who signed for the Titans at the start of the season, said.