Veteran batsman Henry Davids stepped up again at the perfect time as his match-turning 95 not out gave the Multiply Titans near parity on first innings in their Sunfoil Series match against the VKB Knights in Bloemfontein on Saturday.
Davids’ impressive innings lifted the Titans to 345 all out, just 18 behind the Knights’ score of 363, and although the home side finished the third day on 120 for two, a lead of 138, whether there is enough time for them to force a result is debatable.
Davids came to the crease late on the second day and it was a tough time as the Titans lost both set batsmen, Andrea Agathagelou (80) and Rivaldo Moonsamy (39) without a run being added to the total as they slipped to 208 for five.
The 38-year-old made it through to stumps on two not out and then he and Shaun von Berg had to deal with the second new ball and international pacemen Marchant de Lange and Duanne Olivier almost immediately on Saturday.And they did a great job, Von Berg (16) surviving through to just before lunch and helping Davids add a crucial 63 for the sixth wicket.
Eldred Hawken (12) hung around for 51 minutes and a further 26 runs were added, and even though former Titans players De Lange and Theunis de Bruyn combined to remove Malusi Siboto for just 4, Rowan Richards and Alfred Mothoa occupied the crease long enough for Davids to add another 37 runs to the total.
Davids’ fine knock meant the Titans added 137 runs for the last five wickets and it all but nullified the Knights’ advantage.
Paceman Olivier was the best of the Knights bowlers with four for 78 in 33 overs, but it was the leg-spin of Von Berg that caused the home side the most problems as they began their second innings.
Von Berg picked up the wickets of both Luthando Mnyanda (20) and the first-innings hero, Grant Mokoena (8), as the Knights slipped to 37 for two and the Titans smelt blood in the water.
But the classy De Bruyn batted through to the close to reach 57 not out, in the company of the self-controlled Keegan Petersen (27*), the pair adding 83 for the third wicket and giving the Knights the initiative again.