Cape Town - Half-centuries by Temba Bavuma and Nicky van den Bergh left the Highveld Lions strongly placed after two days of 4-Day Domestic Series action against the Knights in Johannesburg on Tuesday.
Captain Bavuma fell six runs shy of a ton after striking 94 (127 balls, 15 fours) at the Wanderers Stadium as his side reached the close on 333 for seven. Wicketkeeper Van den Bergh managed 59 (86 balls, 10 fours) with their efforts ensuring the home side had established a lead of 67 when stumps were drawn.
Having resumed the day on four for none, the Lions lost openers Omphile Ramela (14) and Stephen Cook (30) with 50 on the board – pick of the bowlers Ottniel Baartman (3/48) grabbing both their scalps.
Proteas star Bavuma and Dominic Hendricks (30) then dug in with a third wicket stand that was worth 84, before a partnership to the value of 75 followed between the former and Rassie van der Dussen (32).
But both soon fell within quick succession to Mbulelo Budaza (2/60) as the Lions slipped from 209 for three to 227 for five.
That brought Van den Bergh and Bjorn Fortuin (28) together and they added the highest partnership of the innings – 89 for the sixth wicket – to put their side ahead in the game.
Baartman and Duanne Olivier (1/70) did get rid of both of them before the close, but the home side were still in control at the end.