Cape Town - A marathon 230-run partnership between the in-form Theunis de Bruyn and Jonathan Vandiar gave the Multiply Titans some hope of avoiding defeat after the second day of their 4-Day Domestic Series encounter against the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras in Centurion on Tuesday.
The pair helped their side establish an 86-run lead by stumps on day two with Proteas batsman De Bruyn leading the way thanks to his unbeaten 127 (161 balls, 22 fours).
Vandiar fell agonisingly short of three figures when he fell for 98 (158 balls, 11 fours, 5 sixes) less than five overs before the close, which the champions reached on 301 for five.
It left the home side still in with a chance of escaping with a positive result from the game against the log-leaders, something that looked extremely unlikely after they were shot out for just 122 on the opening day.
The Cobras had resumed at the start on 256 for eight and they managed to add 81 for the final two wickets thanks to a strong half-century by all-rounder Jason Smith, who made 92 (131 balls, 13 fours, 1 six).
Their star man with the ball, Tladi Bokako, also contributed substantially with the bat by striking an attacking 34 off 46 balls, before the visitors were bowled out for 337 – an innings lead of 215.
Alfred Mothoa (3/68) and Junior Dala (1/83) picked up the final two wickets, with the pick of the bowlers being Shaun von Berg with four for 70.
The game looked like it was heading for a quick finish after the Titans lost three wickets inside the opening 17 overs to slip to 70 for three. Amongst those to fall were Proteas Test opener Dean Elgar for six and Tony de Zorzi for an attacking 47 off 58 balls.
But De Bruyn and Vandiar dug in – the former notching up his 12th first-class century in the process and taking his aggregate this season to close to 400 in only his third game.
Just when it looked like the Titans would conclude the day well, though, Dane Piedt (2/94) removed the latter and then Bokako (2/46) continued his outstanding game with the wicket of nightwatchman Dala (0) to maintain control for the table-topping Cape side.