Half-centuries by Dominic Hendricks and Kagiso Rapulana helped the Highveld Lions seize the initiative at the halfway stage of their 4-Day Domestic Series derby against the Titans in Benoni on Tuesday.
The pair both shone with the bat as the visitors replied to the home side’s 229 all out with 288/4 – a lead of 59 runs at Willowmoore Park.
Chris Morris finished as the top-scorer for the reigning champions, although he disappointingly fell three shy of a century following a blistering 97 (77 balls, 11x4, 4x6).
The Proteas all-rounder had started day two hoping to continue with his eighth-wicket rebuilding job alongside Eldred Hawken.
But the latter only lasted 10 more runs as their stand ended on 32 when Nandré Burger (3/57) struck to remove the latter for 15.
Corbin Bosch (16) was next to offer support to Morris as they added a further 42 for wicket number nine that again ended with Burger striking, before Morris was last man out to Wiaan Mulder, who was the pick of the bowlers with 4/55.
The Lions made a poor start to their reply after Stephen Cook (11) was trapped lbw by Tshepo Moreki (2/69), and Wihan Lubbe (1) was caught behind off Hawken (1/45).
But Hendricks dropped anchor with a patient unbeaten 91 off 250 balls (5x4) and initially shared a stand of 102 with Rapulana, who breezed his way to 75 (90 balls, 12x4, 1x6).
After the partnership was broken by Henry Davids (1/58), Mulder (40) then added 77 for the fourth wicket alongside Hendricks.
After he fell with the total on 203, Nicky van den Bergh hit 40 not out that helped take the Lions into a lead and a strong position in the contest.
Stumps: The Lions have been good with the bat and have been rewarded with a 59 run lead at the end of Day 2 in our 4-day series match— Lions Cricket (@LionsCricketSA) January 15, 2019
D Hendricks (91*) and N vd Bergh (40*) will resume the batting for the #LionsCharge in Day 3
The score is 288/4 at the end of play. #TTNvLIO pic.twitter.com/inVCQmYGcz
Cricket South Africa