Nicky van den Bergh recorded the first double century of the season as the Highveld Lions took complete command of their 4-Day Domestic Series derby against the Titans in Benoni on Wednesday.
The right-hander crunched an unbeaten 217 (227 balls, 29x4, 2x6) – a fixture record individual score and career best – as the hosts amassed 593/5 declared.
There was also a best first-class score for his partner that helped him get there, Dominic Hendricks, who batted for a marathon 10-and-a-half hours to score a patient 197 (453 balls, 20x4).
The pair put on a stand of 390 for the fifth wicket, another fixture record.
But it was not a competition best after it fell three runs short of the unbroken 393 shared by JP Duminy and Dane Vilas for the Cape Cobras against the Lions in Potchefstroom back in 2014/15.
By the close, the reigning champions had already lost five wickets after closing on 95/5, still needing an unlikely 269 to avoid an innings defeat at Willowmoore Park.
It was Van den Bergh and Hendricks that started the day batting together with their side on 288/4.
They continued to enjoy the bowling right through the innings of the Johannesburg-based side, with the former comfortably beating his previous best score of 172 for North West against KwaZulu-Natal made in Potchefstroom in 2013/14 to complete a 10th century of his career and maiden double ton.
Left-hander Hendricks fell three shy of that milestone, but still went on to beat his old highest score of 176 not out for Gauteng against KZN in Johannesburg during 2012/13 on his way to a 12th first-class three-figure score.
The Lions eventually declared when he was dismissed by Henry Davids (2/29).
The reply from the Titans was a meek one as three of the top four were out for single-digit scores.
STUMPS: Davids drives the ball down deep mid-wicket for 4 to bring an end to the days play.— The Titans (@Titans_Cricket) January 16, 2019
Titans 95-5 after 39 overs and now trail by 269.
Davids (14*) and Makwetu (0*) were the men in the middle.
Day 4 gets underway from 09:30 tomorrow.#TTNvLIO #4DaySeries
Andrea Agathangelou’s 16 was the only exception, with Nandré Burger (2/19) nabbing two early wickets that left the home side on 53/4.
Farhaan Behardien (41) managed to add 38 with Davids (14 not out), before becoming the fifth wicket to fall leaving his side limping to stumps in deep trouble.
Cricket South Africa