A 20th career five-wicket haul by Tabraiz Shamsi put the Titans on top of the Knights after the second day of their 4-Day Domestic Series encounter at the Mangaung Oval in Bloemfontein on Thursday.
The Proteas spinner nabbed 5/83 to leave the hosts all out for 231 as they replied to 303 all out.
The visitors then reached stumps in their second innings on 89/2, a healthy lead of 161 heading into day three.
It was a disappointing end to proceedings for the central franchise, who walked out to the middle at the start well-placed on 45/0.
But they lost Keegan Petersen (30) to the fourth ball of the morning as Tshepo Moreki (1/42) struck.
The home side showed more promise after top-scorer Grant Mokoena and Andries Gous (31) added 72 for the second wicket to take the total up to 122/1.
But both fell in quick succession – Mokoena dismissed for 58 (87 balls, 10x4, 1x6).
Captain Pite van Biljon (24) and Rudi Second (27) also had starts on which they failed to capitalise as the Titans chipped away to dismiss them in 75.1 overs.
Apart from Shamsi and Moreki, there were also wickets on debut for Itumaleng Moseki (2/34) and Chris Morris (1/33).
The reply started well for the Knights after Shadley van Schalkwyk got rid of the out-of-form Aiden Markram for six in the fourth over.
WICKET: Not the start we would've been hoping for as Markram (6) finds an edge from van Schalkwyk and through to the keeper.— The Titans (@Titans_Cricket) December 20, 2018
Jonathan Vandiar comes in at three.
Titans 12-1 in the 4th over and a lead of 84. #KNIvTTN #4DaySeries pic.twitter.com/foXAiKxEeX
But Dean Elgar (25) helped Jonathan Vandiar (38 not out) take them past 50 before falling, with Faf du Plessis (13) then making sure there were no further losses before the close.
Cricket South Africa