Cape Town - Dean Elgar was closing in on a century as the Titans tried to work their way back into their 4-Day Domestic Series encounter against the Highveld Lions in their Jukskei derby at Senwes Park in Potchefstroom on Tuesday.
The Proteas opener was not out on 89 (146 balls, 14 fours) to help the defending champions reach stumps at the halfway stage of the game on 165 for three. They were still a massive 365 runs behind after the hosts managed to post an imposing 530 in their first innings.
The Lions, second on the table heading into the game, began day two powerfully placed on 385 for five and the tail managed to wag well thanks to an eighth career half-century from Aaron Phangiso. The veteran spinner struck an unbeaten 51 (79 balls, 5 fours), while there were also useful contributions from Nicky van den Bergh (49), Bjorn Fortuin (25) and Migael Pretorius (23).
Eldred Hawken ended as the pick of the bowlers from a relatively inexperienced Titans attack, nabbing four for 95.
Elgar and debutant Gianni Koopman (25) added 79 for the opening wicket as the visitors made an assured start to the reply. However, the latter was run-out by Pretorius, and that was followed by a 58-run second wicket stand between Tony de Zorzi (30) and Elgar.
After the departure of the former, Beuran Hendricks (1/36) grabbed the big wicket of competition top-scorer Theunis de Bruyn for four, but Jonathan Vandiar (11) ensured there were no further wickets to fall – the Titans still having plenty to do heading into Wednesday.