Half-centuries by Pieter Malan and Simon Khomari put the Cape Cobras in a commanding position at the halfway stage of their 4-Day Domestic Series encounter against the Titans in Oudtshoorn on Tuesday.

The pair shared an opening stand of 135 as the hosts replied to the visitors’ 275 by going to stumps on 299/5.

Malan, one of the most consistent batsmen in South African first-class cricket over the past two seasons, made 95 (181 balls, 12x4) and was still unbeaten – although he had to retire hurt due to severe cramp at the Recreation Ground.

Khomari, meanwhile, recorded a career-best 77 (90 balls, 14x4), beating his previous highest score of 70 against the Warriors at Paarl in 2015/16.

Late wickets did jolt the log-leaders, although they still had five wickets in the bag heading into day three.

Earlier, there was heartbreak for Leus du Plooy as he fell three short of a century when he was the last man standing for the Titans on 97 not out (257 balls, 12x4, 1x6).

Just three runs were added to the away side’s 272/9, with Alfred Mothoa (1) dismissed by Dane Piedt, who completed an excellent return of 6/75 in 41.2 overs.

The Malan-Khomari stand then provided an excellent backbone for the reply, although it ended when Shaun von Berg (1/101) accounted for the latter.

Zubayr Hamza (28) managed to add 71 for the second wicket, before he was removed by Du Plooy (1/48), before David Bedingham (41) and Kyle Verreynne (17) took the score to 265/2, thanks to another half-century partnership that yielded 59.

The home side lost their way somewhat from there thanks to a double strike by Matthew Arnold (2/42) and one from Mothoa (1/34), but with five wickets still standing, the Cobras held the advantage through a 24-run lead.

Cricket South Africa