Hayden Kerr's destructive and inventive 73 was the highlight of the opening match of the Red Bull Campus Cricket Finals in Colombo yesterday.
Sydney University, representing Australia in the eight-nation contest, was drawn to play its first match against South Africa's North-West University, a formidable side packed with several domestic first-class players. Kerr, who made his First Grade debut for University only last season, opened the batting against two first-class bowlers, Jovuan Van Wyngaard of Western Province and North-West's John-Pierre Le Roux. Undaunted by reputations, Kerr blasted 73 from only 39 deliveries, driving, pulling and ramping 12 fours and a six.
When Kerr was dismissed in the twelfth over, University was 3-111 and well-placed to build a formidable total. But leg-spinner Dyllan Matthews, who has also played first-class cricket for North-West, put a brake on the innings with three wickets from his four overs, andSydney University's 9-157 fell a little short of the team's expectations.
Both of the South African openers, Wihan Lubbe and Janneman Malan, have scored first-class centuries, and they gave their side a fantastic platform by taking 58 runs from the first six overs. But Devlin Malone (1-29) came back strongly, Will Lawrance allowed only 20 runs from his four overs, and Dugald Holloway (1-25) removed the dangerous Edrich Lubbe (who has scored a first-class hundred for Gauteng). Kerr completed a fine match by snaring two wickets with his left-arm seamers as the South Africans were forced to fight all the way to the finish.
Sydney University showed tremendous grit against formidable opposition, and today moves on to play Pakistan's Jinnah Government College Nazimabad, Karachi.