Grant Mokoena helped erase most of the first-innings deficit to give the Knights a slight advantage after day three of their Four-Day Series clash against the Cape Cobras at Newlands on Wednesday.
The 31-year-old right-hander batted positively throughout his knock of 113, which came off just 179 balls (20x4) and was his eighth first-class hundred.
Mokoena and opening partner Luthando Mnyanda made a solid start after the Cobras bashed their way to a healthy 141-run lead in the morning.
The home team lost opener Pieter Malan, who added just 11 runs to his overnight score, as Proteas Test paceman Duanne Olivier struck early to dismiss the right-hander for 129 (off 296 balls, 18x4).
But that brought Dane Paterson to the crease, and he combined with Rory Kleinveldt to frustrate the Knights bowlers and build a vital lead for the Cobras.
Kleinveldt reached his 17th first-class 50, but he soon became another Olivier victim for 54 (57 balls, 6x4, 3x6).
Swing bowler Paterson batted in a similar vein, and made a valuable 41 off 43 balls (4x4, 2x6), and he was well supported by Tladi Bokako (24).
The Cobras were eventually bowled out for 420, and captain Dane Piedt and coach Ashwell Prince would’ve been pleased with the application shown by their lower-order batsmen.
But with no rain falling in Cape Town on Wednesday to freshen up the Newlands pitch, batting became a bit easier as the day went on.
Mokoena and Mnyanda produced a 61-run opening stand to see off the new-ball attack of Kleinveldt and Paterson, and it was skipper Piedt who made the breakthrough with his off-spin by snaring Mnyanda for 20.
That brought former Cobras wicket-keeper/batsman Keegan Petersen to the middle, and he would’ve wanted to prove a point to his ex-teammates.
The Boland product took the attack to the home team with Mokoena, and the duo added 152 runs for the second wicket to put the Knights in command.
Mokoena was bowled by Aviwe Mgijima for 113, and true to form, his partner Petersen (74 off 117 balls, 12x4) was trapped lbw by Piedt on the same score of 213.
Captain Pite van Biljon (21 not out) and Rudi Second (five not out) saw the Knights to the close without further damage at 240/3, a lead of 99.
The match is still up for grabs, though, as the Cobras will look to claim a few early wickets on Thursday.
But if the Knights can get through the initial period, they will aim to score quickly to set a stiff target for victory.
WICKET | A double strike for the Cobras! 🔥
Piedt gets the other in-form batsman, as he traps Keegan Petersen LBW for 74.
Great bowling, skip! 🙌
COB: 213/3 after 62 overs. #COBvKNI #4DaySeries pic.twitter.com/8AvRUfTZ67