A 15th career first-class century by Dominic Hendricks followed by early wickets for the Imperial Lions helped put them in a strong position before rain brought an early close to the third day of their 4-Day Domestic Series encounter against the Six Gun Grill Cape Cobras in Johannesburg on Wednesday.
The left-hander, unbeaten on 87 at the start of play, went on to record 130 (323 balls, 16 fours) in an innings that lasted over eight hours at the Imperial Wanderers.
Dominic also shared in a vital 80-run ninth wicket stand with Malusi Siboto (43 not out) to help the hosts amass 324.
The same bowler was then amongst three wicket-takers for the defending champions as they reduced their Cape opponents to 54 for three when rain intervened, bringing a close to the penultimate day in round two when a little over 55 overs were bowled. It means Ashwell Prince’s side, still 155 runs behind, face a big final day to try and salvage a draw from the clash.
They had started the day in a decent position considering how the first two days had unfolded – 107 behind with just three wickets to get.
But after claiming one of those three quickly in the fourth over of the day when Nono Pongolo (2) was removed by Nandre Burger (4/101), they could only watch as the Dominic-Siboto stand hurt them.
The two took the score from 226 for eight to 306 for nine, before the innings eventually ended in the 117th over with the Lions 209 ahead.
More trouble followed for the Cobras when Pieter Malan (1) was taken out by Siboto (1/17) and captain Zubayr Hamza fell to Beuran Hendricks (1/7) for the same score inside the first 30 deliveries.
Janneman Malan (9) followed 10 overs later leaving the Cobras on 22 for three, before the in-form Kyle Verreynne (23) and Tony de Zorzi (16) tried to rebuild as they took their side to the early close.