Cape Town - Mthiwekhaya Nabe claimed a career-best and maiden five-wicket haul for the Cape Cobras before Robbie Frylinck's three-for helped the Dolphins storm back at the end of day one of their 4-Day Domestic Series clash in Cape Town on Monday.
Rising young fast bowler Nabe claimed five for 60 as the visitors were bowled out for a seemingly below-par 225, but veteran Frylinck's three for 20 sent the hosts tumbling to stumps at 45 for four.
It meant the log leaders still trailed by 180 when an early close was drawn due to bad light at Newlands.
For the KwaZulu-Natal side, their strong fightback represented good character after the doom and gloom they found themselves in early on day one.
After throwing away a good opportunity to win their first match of the season when they went down to the Warriors in Durban last week, they again started poorly in the Mother City.
The returning Proteas Test star Vernon Philander (2/34), fit again after being sidelined with an ankle injury since the tour to Sri Lanka back in July, struck in the third over by removing Vaughn van Jaarsveld for 6.
Top scorer Cody Chetty, who made 71 (10 balls, 14 fours), fought back with Sarel Erwee during a 75-run second wicket stand, but that ended on 90 when Nabe nabbed his first wicket by trapping the latter leg before wicket for 35.
It was a regular loss of wickets from there as Nabe proved the thorn with his best figures since his four for 48 for Western Province against KwaZulu-Natal Inland in three-day cricket.
He was well supported by Philander, who sent down 14.3 overs, Dane Piedt (1/25), Dane Paterson (1/44) and Tladi Bokako (1/53).
Frylinck then dismissed Janneman Malan (6), Zubayr Hamza (17) and the in-form David Bedingham (0) - the latter two in success deliveries - to rock the Cobras.
Okuhle Cele (1/5) added the scalp of Aviwe Mgijima, also for a duck, with Pieter Malan (18) left fighting a lone battle at the close.