Durban - Temba Bavuma's unbeaten hundred has helped the Highveld Lions ward off a strong attack from the young Dolphins seamers on an entertaining first day of the crucial Sunfoil Series clash at Kingsmead.
Bavuma’s unbeaten 124 allowed the Lions to recover from 126 for four to close the day on 280 for five, with Thami Tsolekile also weighing in with a handy 61.
The century was a continuation of the 24-year-old’s excellent form since he returned to Sunfoil Series action last month - Bavuma now has two hundreds and two fifties in his last four games, further outlining his potential for the Test arena.
The Dolphins went into the game in desperate need of a win to try and catch the league leaders, and made a strong start after winning the toss and electing to bowl first.
Matthew Pillans caught and bowled Rassie van der Dussen in the fifth over of the day, and trapped Neil McKenzie (28) lbw in his second spell.
The prolific Stephen Cook was taken care of by Calvin Savage, and Daryn Dupavillon ensured that the first half of the day truly belonged to the hosts when he dismissed Dominic Hendricks for 39.
However, the tables turned when Bavuma was joined by his old Langa mate, Tsolekile, as the pair consolidated the innings before putting on 146 for the fifth wicket.
The second new ball finally brought the Dolphins the breakthrough they required, as Dupavillon (2 for 57) trapped Tsolekile in front, but Dwaine Pretorius hung in until bad light halted play nine overs early.
With Bavuma still at the crease but the second new ball just six overs old, a key second morning lies in prospect.