Johannesburg - An unbeaten partnership of 144 between Dean Elgar and Boeta Dippenaar saw the Diamond Eagles seize the initiative on the second day of their Supersport Series match against the Highveld Lions at the Wanderers on Friday.
When play was called off early because of bad light and an impending thunderstorm, the Eagles had 195 for two in reply to the Lions' first innings total of 368 all out, and trailed the home side by 173 runs.
Etienne Gerber struck early to get rid of Reeza Hendricks in the third over of the Eagles' innings, with Hendricks caught at mid-wicket by Stephen Cook for four. Rilee Rossouw was next to go, caught behind by Thami Tsolekile off Pumi Matshikwe for 22.
But that was the last time the Lions were able to celebrate, as Elgar and Dippenaar kept the runs flowing and started closing in on the Lions' total. Elgar reached his ninth first class 50 off 111 deliveries, and Dippenaar his 26th off 120.
When play was called off for the day, Elgar was just three runs short of his ninth first class century, and Dippenaar was not out on 62.
Both appeared untroubled by anything the Lions threw at them, including former England left-arm spinner, Monty Panesar. Zander de Bruyn kept the Eagles in check with some miserly bowling, with just 17 runs coming off 11 overs and three balls. Cliffie Deacon was the most expensive, going for 54 off 12, and Panesar conceding 50 off 12.
Earlier, it took the Eagles an hour and a half to dismiss the last four Lions batsmen, after the home side resumed play on 290 for six, while the Lions added 78 to their score. Zander de Bruyn, who was looking very confident, put on another 13 runs before he got an edge to a delivery from Dillon du Preez and was neatly caught by wicketkeeper Morne van Wyk for 71.
Thandi Tshabalala snatched two wickets in an over, to dismiss Monty Panesar for 10 and Etienne Gerber for a duck, both being given out leg before wicket.
Deacon, who started the day on nought, made a brisk 41, including seven boundaries before he was caught at deep midwicket by Con de Lange to give CJ de Villiers his fourth wicket of the innings. De Villiers was the most successful bowler, with four for 63, while Du Preez took two for 97, Ryan Bailey two for 67 and Tshabalala two for 62.
Gino Vries and De Lange both bowled very economically, with Vries conceding just 26 runs off 17 overs and De Lange 39 off 17.
The scoreboard at stumps on day two of the four-day SuperSport Series cricket match between the Cape Cobras and the Titans in Paarl on Friday.
Titans first innings 240 all out (77.1 overs)
Cobras first innings (overnight 42/1, 13 overs)
A Puttick b Mbhalati 6
A Gray c Masekela b van der Merwe 89
S Van Zyl c Kuhn b Joubert 23
J Ontong lbw b Behardien 28
R Levi b Behardien 5
J Kemp not out 86
R Canning b Morkel 14
RJ Peterson not out 36
Extras (3lb, 1w, 14nb) 18
Total (for 6 wkts) 305 - 109 overs
Fall of wickets: 1/7, 2/81, 3/120, 4/131, 5/207, 6/230
Bowling: Mbhalati 21-8-45-1 (2nb), Morkel 17-1-71-1 (9nb), Joubert 18-6-36-1 (1nb), Van der Merwe 21-3-61-1, Masekela 14-3-50-0 (2nb), Behardien 16-4-30-2 (1w), Snijman 2-0-9-0