Cape Town - Half-centuries by Dominic Hendricks and Kagiso Rapulana helped the Highveld Lions seize the initiative at the halfway stage of their 4-Day Domestic Series derby against the Titans in Benoni on Tuesday.
The pair both shone with the bat as the visitors replied to the home sides’ 229 all out with 288 for four – a lead of 59 runs at Willowmoore Park.
Chris Morris finished as the top-scorer for the reigning champions, although he disappointingly fell three shy of a century following a blistering 97 (77 balls, 11 fours, 4 sixes).
The Proteas all-rounder had started day two hoping to continue with his eighth-wicket rebuilding job alongside Eldred Hawken. But the latter only lasted 10 more runs as their stand ended on 32 when Nandre Burger (3/57) struck to remove the latter for 15.
Corbin Bosch (16) was next to offer support to Morris as they added a further 42 for wicket number nine that again ended with Burger striking, before Morris was last man out to pick-of-the-bowlers Wiaan Mulder, who ended with four for 55.
The Lions made a poor start to their reply after Stephen Cook (11) was trapped leg before wicket by Tshepo Moreki (2/69) and Wihan Lubbe (1) was caught behind off Hawken (1/45).
But Hendricks dropped anchor with a patient unbeaten 91 off 250 balls (5 fours) and initially shared a stand of 102 with Rapulana, who breezed his way to 75 (90 balls, 12 fours, 1 six).
After the partnership was broken by Henry Davids (1/58), Mulder (40) then added 77 for the fourth wicket alongside Hendricks.
After he fell with the total on 203, Nicky van den Bergh hit 40 not out that helped take the Lions into a lead and a strong position in the contest.