Port Elizabeth - A marathon double century from Andrew Puttick highlighted the second day of domestic four-day action between the Warriors and Cape Cobras, but it was the Knights that took the biggest strides towards victory in their game against the Highveld Lions in Kimberley on Friday.
Rilee Rossouw struck 111, his 15th first-class century, to help the Free Staters reply to their visitors' first innings 204 with 262 all out, before the Lions were ripped to shreds in their second innings, reaching stumps on 29 for seven.
Medium-pacer Corne Dry was the chief destroyer taking three for three in 2.5 overs, while there were also two wickets each from captain Johan van der Wath (2/9) and Quinton Friend (2/13).
The day had started out with the Knights on 56 for two at the Diamond Oval and Rudi Second (28) helping Rossouw extend the third wicket stand to 71, before being trapped leg before wicket by Chris Morris.
Two more quick wickets had seen the home side slip to 118 for five, but Lefa Mosena (20) put on 52 for sixth wicket with number three Rossouw, who reached his three figures from 173 balls just after his partner fell.
Another cluster of wickets then fell, including that of the set man, although a final wicket stand of 59 between Malusi Siboto (39 not out) and Dry (17) gave the Knights a handy 58 run lead.
But Van der Wath and Friend were on fire with the new ball as the Lions slipped to 22 for four, with Dry then adding three more before the close leaving the table toppers from Johannesburg still 29 runs in arrears at the halfway stage.
At St. George's Park in Port Elizabeth, 21 overs were lost due to bad light at the back end of the day, but it did not stop defending champions the Cobras from moving into a strong position after they declared their first innings on 526 for four.
Veteran opener Puttick was the mainstay for the Cape Town side, crafting a fine 241 from 434 deliveries, while there was also a century for Yaseen Vallie, who ended on 101 not out.
The pair shared in a lengthy 178-run partnership for the fourth wicket and added to the 167 third wicket stand between Puttick and Justin Ontong the previous day.
Only one Cobras wickets fell, that of the top-scorer when he was bowled by Jon-Jon Smuts, with Dane Vilas (32 not out) keeping Vallie company until he reached his eighth first-class 100 from 145 balls.
Simon Harmer bowled a hefty 49 overs taking two for 175.
In reply, the home side were already one wicket down after Michael Price (12) edged Beuran Hendricks to Puttick at first slip with the Warriors closing on 15 for one.