Cape Town - A superb three-wicket haul from Wiaan Mulder seized the advantage for the Highveld Lions on a rain-hit day one of their 4-Day Domestic Series derby against the Titans in Benoni on Monday.
The Proteas all-rounder claimed three for 23 in 12 overs to leave the defending champions reeling at 160 for seven when the weather intervened – just 48 overs into the action.
However, the men from across the Jukskei were fighting back thanks to an unbeaten 46 from another national star, Chris Morris.
Before that though, the title-chasing Lions held all the aces as they made the most of winning the toss and bowling at Willowmoore Park.
They had the home side on 50 for four inside the first 15 overs as Andrea Agathangelou (19), Victor Mahlangu (19), stand-in captain Jonathan Vandiar (4) and Heino Kuhn (4) were all dismissed without causing too much alarm.
Nandre Burger (1/32), Beuran Hendricks (1/38), Malusi Siboto (1/33) and Mulder were the men to make inroads, before Farhaan Behardien (28) and Henry Davids (19) tried to rebuild with a 44-run fifth-wicket stand.
But both were felled by Mulder within four deliveries, leaving the Titans staring down the barrel on 95 for six.
Debutant and former South Africa Under-19 wicketkeeper Wandile Makwetu batted for nearly an hour for his four runs that then helped Morris contribute 43 for the seventh wicket, although his resistance was ended by Bjorn Fortuin (1/23).
It was then left to Eldred Hawken (14 not out) to plug away at the other end as his 22-run stand with Morris was what held up the visiting side at the end.