Dean Elgar filled his boots in the second innings for the Titans after missing out in the first. Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

It appears to be a question of when, rather than if, the Titans will win their opening Sunfoil Series fixture of the 2017/18 season.

At stumps on day three, they had the visiting Dolphins on the rack at 27/3, in pursuit of an impossible target of 430, at SuperSport Park in Centurion on Thursday.

The Dolphins had started the third day on 232/6, and the dogged Robbie Frylinck (50 from 57 balls) and Keshav Maharaj (36), added 74 for the eighth wicket, to at least narrow the deficit by the time the visitors were dismissed for 317.

Malusi Siboto did the most damage for the Titans, snaffling 5/51 in 16 overs. The Titans had a lead of 134 to work with, and they piled on the agony in the second dig.

Proteas opener Dean Elgar had missed out in the first innings, but filled his boots at the second time of asking.

The southpaw pummelled a bruising 139 off just 164 balls. At the other end, young skipper Aiden Markram added gloss to his first-innings 119 with 87 off 89 balls.

Markram almost completed a remarkable start to captaincy, but he was bowled by Maharaj just a few blows short of a double helping of first-class tons.

The Titans were after quick runs, and they rattled along at very nearly a run-a-ball for over 50 overs.

Tony de Zorzi kept the foot on the gas when he joined Elgar, rushing to 57 off just 56 balls.

Quinton de Kock was promoted up the order for a laugh, but his antics were not even needed, as Markram halted the massacre at 295/4, as De Kock fell cheaply.

That set the Dolphins 430 to win, a run-mountain to scale after chasing leather in the afternoon.

Siboto struck with the new nut, castling SJ Erwee, who had come into the contest in good nick with match-winning contributions in the Africa Cup.

The Titans were not done, either, as Morné Morkel trapped Senuran Muthusamy (8) leg-before, and then fired night-watchman Mthokozisi Shezi in the same over to reduce the Dolphins to 27/3.

As they enter the final day, it appears to be a question of when, with the Titans signalling their season intentions very clearly.

Brief Scores

Titans 1st innings 451/7 declared (Aiden Markram 119, Faf du Plessis 96, Quinton de Kock; Robbie Frylinck 4/71)

Dolphins 1st innings 317 all out (Vaughn van Jaarsveld 53, Robbie Frylinck 50; Malusi Siboto 5/51)

Titans 2nd innings 295/4 declared (Dean Elgar 139, Aidan Markram 87, Tony de Zorzi 57)

Dolphins 27/3 (Morné Morkel 2/7)

* Dolphins need 403 more runs to win.

IOL Sport