Hardus Viljoen served up a superb spell of fast bowling to restrict The Unlimited Titans to 278-6 at stumps on the second day of their Sunfoil Series match against the bizhub Highveld Lions at SuperSport Park in Centurion on Friday.
Fast bowler Viljoen recorded figures of 4-58 off 15 overs as the Titans ended the day still 141 runs behind the Lions’ first-innings total of 419 all out.
Viljoen, who had taken the first Titans wicket to fall – that of Francois le Clus (4) – claimed three wickets in the space of five balls to put the skids on what had been an impressive innings from the hosts.
The Titans had been motoring along thanks to a 158-run partnership between Heino Kuhn and Cobus Pienaar.
Kuhn, who was the leading run-scorer in the recently concluded Momentum One-Day Cup, continued his good form as he smashed his way to 88 off 121 balls with 11 fours and a six while Pienaar, who had taken three wickets earlier in the day, was no less destructive as he cruised to 83 off 105 deliveries with 12 fours.
But Pienaar was out in unfortunate fashion as he went back to a delivery from paceman Chris Morris and trod on his own stumps.
Kuhn was dismissed less than three overs later when he was caught behind by keeper Thami Tsolekile off the bowling of legspinner Eddie Leie.
Viljoen then took centre stage as he had Henry Davids (9) caught at first slip and two balls later had Mangaliso Mosehle (0) caught behind.
In his next over Viljoen had Roelof van der Merwe (0) also caught behind as the Titans crashed from 180-1 to 216-6.
But Farhaan Behardien struck an aggressive half-century, off just 67 balls, as he and Shaun von Berg (24 not out) put on an unbroken seventh-wicket stand of 62 to stop the rot.
Behardien ended the day on 58 not out off 81 balls with nine fours and a six.
Tsolekile had earlier constructed an unbeaten fifty as the Lions piled on the runs before being bowled out on the stroke of lunch.
Tsolekile ended on 63 not out off 118 deliveries which included eight fours and a six.
Medium-pacer Pienaar was the most successful bowler for the home team as he ended with figures of 3-72 off 24 overs.
The Lions began the day on a formidable 328-5 and Tsolekile and Brett Pelser added 30 runs to the score before Pelser was dismissed by paceman CJ de Villiers for 32.
Pienaar then set about wrapping up the Lions tail as he snared three wickets. He caught and bowled Chris Morris (13), bowled Viljoen (1) and dismissed Pumelela Matshikwe (5) as the Lions lost three wickets for 18 runs.
The wickets may have been falling around him but Tsolekile was unfazed as he brought up his 27th first-class half-century off 94 balls with seven fours and a six.
Eddie Leie (5) was the last man out when he was trapped leg-before by left-arm spinner Roelof van der Merwe.
Van der Merwe ended with 2-26 off 11.1 overs while the pace duo of Ethy Mbhalati and CJ de Villiers also ended with two wickets apiece.
THE UNLIMITED TITANS: Heino Kuhn, Francois le Clus, Henry Davids (capt), Farhaan Behardien, Cobus Pienaar, Mangaliso Mosehle (wk), Roelof van der Merwe, CJ de Villiers, Shaun von Berg, Rowan Richards, Ethy Mbhalati.
BIZHUB HIGHVELD LIONS: Stephen Cook (capt), Dominic Hendricks, Temba Bavuma, Neil McKenzie, Zander de Bruyn, Thami Tsolekile (wk), Brett Pelser, Chris Morris, Hardus Viljoen, Eddie Leie, Pumelela Matshikwe.