Cape Town - Pieter Malan was closing in on his third century of the season as the Cape Cobras were fighting hard at the close of the third day of their 4-Day Domestic Series encounter against the Highveld Lions in Paarl on Wednesday.
The right-hander struck an unbeaten 95 (213 balls, 13 fours) to rescue the log leaders from a woeful start of 75 for five at Boland Park to reach the close on 186 for five in pursuit of a 433-victory target.
Support from the other end was coming from all-rounder Jason Smith’s 59 not out (87 balls, 6 fours) – the pair sharing a 111-run sixth wicket stand to retain outside hope of still winning the game.
The Cobras, who are top of the table after four wins from four this season, opened the door for the Lions when they were bowled out for their lowest score of the campaign (138) on day two.
The visitors capitalised on that by moving from 104 for four overnight to 233 all out. Nicky van den Bergh finished as their top-scorer with 83 (141 balls, 14 fours), while Dane Piedt was the pick of the bowlers with five for 99.
The final innings went horribly wrong for the Cobras after spinners Bjorn Fortuin (3/37) and Aaron Phangiso (2/49) made merry.
But Malan and Smith fought back to give their side hope.