The Lions had spinner Bjorn Fortuin to thank for helping them chip away after he claimed 4/54. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Keegan Petersen continued his rich run of form by top-scoring for the Knights as they ended the opening day of their 4-Day Domestic Series encounter against the Highveld Lions in a solid position at the Mangaung Oval in Bloemfontein on Monday.

The right-hander, who has made two big tons and an unbeaten half-century in his last four innings, followed that up with 71 (138 balls, 11x4) to help the hosts reach stumps on 312/6.

There was also another impressive showing by young Raynard van Tonder – the former South Africa Under-19 captain striking 70 (142 balls, 9x4) for his fourth half-century in just his fourth game since debuting in November.

The Lions, who headed into the penultimate round of games just one-and-a-half points behind leaders the Cape Cobras, had Bjorn Fortuin to thank for helping them chip away after he claimed 4/54.

But he and his teammates could not find a way past Andries Gous (29) and Romano Terblanche (30), allowing the Knights to hit back and end the day strongly.

The Central franchise had won the toss and elected to bat first at the start, with Grant Mokoena (46) giving them an excellent early platform alongside Van Tonder.

They put on 86 for the first wicket, which was followed by 66 between the latter and Petersen, who continued to bat well until the hosts had progressed to 233/3.

Three quick wickets then left them in a bit of a fix on 253/6, but an unbroken 59 between Gous and Terblanche for the seventh wicket ensured they went to stumps in a comfortable position.

Cricket South Africa