The Multiply Titans toiled for 96 overs on Saturday to pick up just three wickets, but the costs of those breakthroughs were not exorbitant as the WSB Cape Cobras still finished the third day of their Sunfoil Series match behind on the scoreboard.
The Cobras reached stumps on the penultimate day on 393 for three, still 42 runs behind the Titans’ first-innings total of 435 for nine declared. On a hot day at Eurolux Boland Park in Paarl, it was a fantastic effort by the five bowlers used that none of them conceded more than 2.86 runs per over.
Former Titans player Pieter Malan was the hero of the day for the Cobras, having batted for 10-and-a-half hours in scoring 175 not out, his second century of the campaign against his previous franchise.
The Cobras began the third day in a solid position, on 124 without loss, but they still had a large deficit to deal with.
The Titans bowlers did well to strike twice in the morning session, wicketkeeper Heinrich Klaasen taking an incredible, diving one-handed catch to remove Andrew Puttick for 86 off the bowling of Alfred Mothoa, and Eldred Hawken bowling Zubayr Hamza for 24 with an inswinger that the batsman left.
Malan, one of the most in-form batsmen in the country, went to his fourth Sunfoil Series century of the season in the seventh over after lunch, but the third Cobras wicket fell in the next half-hour as Stiaan van Zyl, the former Test batsman, edged spinner Tabraiz Shamsi into the gloves of Klaasen to fall for 17.
The rest of the day was dominated though by the Cobras wicketkeeper/batsman Kyle Verreynne (71*) and Malan in an unbroken stand of 140.
The home side went into the tea break on 302 for three and the Titans did well to limit the scoring in the last 36 overs of the day to just 91 more runs.
The Cobras have, however, shaded the bonus points battle 5.24 to 4.82, thus extending their lead over the Titans to 5.44 points on the log.