South Africa: Teen Hits Ton for WP, Makes History On Debut

Jonathan Bird became the youngest player in South African cricket history to have scored a senior List A century on debut when he blasted 104 for Western Province against Easterns at WPCC on Sunday.

He was one of three centurions for Western Province over the weekend, whose performances were hailed by WP coach Paul Adams .

Bird scored his century while just a tender 17 years and 186 days old in his maiden senior List A appearance.

Jiveshan Pillay was the previous record-holder when he scored his maiden List A century in senior cricket for Northerns in 2017 at age 18 upon debut.

Adams said Bird has an imposing presence at the crease and hits the ball with enormous power.

"He can slay the bowlers on both sides of the wicket."

Neil Carter, cricketing coach at Bishops where Bird is a learner, said the 17-year-old pierces the gaps with ease on the off-side and when the ball is there to be hit, he can catapult it 30 rows back behind the boundary. The faster the ball comes, the more comfortable Bird - a young giant at 1.90 m - is.

At every opportunity where Bird has been promoted to a new level, he has handled the pressure well and scored freely.

"He was a bit weak against spin, but has improved that part of his game a lot," Carter said.

He scored a half-century and a 51 and 142 in two Youth One-Day Internationals for South Africa U19 against the England U19 team to propel South Africa to victory in the series just a few months ago.

Earlier in the weekend, Western Province played in a CSA Three-Day Provincial Cup clash against the same opposition.

WP openers, Matthew Kleinveldt (109 in the first innings) and Jack Newby (132 in the second innings), produced the foundations for the good performance, but Province could not put Easterns away. The latter finished on 258 for nine in pursuit of 384 and the last pair stone-walled for 64 balls to deny Western Province victory.

Both Kleinveldt and Newby defended soundly on a wicket which always had something in it for the bowlers.

Both are compact players who put the bad ball away with ease.

It was Newby's first first-class century and eventually was forced to retire hurt.

He will undergo a fitness test on Wednesday prior to the Three-Day Provincial Cup match against Northern Cape starting at Newlands on Thursday.

Source: Sport24

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