Cape Town - Leus du Plooy was closing in on a debut century as the Titans fought their way to 272 for nine on the opening day of their 4-Day Domestic Series encounter against the log-leading Cape Cobras in Oudtshoorn on Monday.
The 24-year-old, who previously represented the Knights, was still batting at the close on an unbeaten 94 (241 balls, 12 fours, 1 six), although he was threading a fine line in terms of three figures with only Alfred Mothoa (1 off 12 balls) left for company.
Du Plooy’s performance lit up an otherwise difficult day for the champions as their struggles from recent games again came back to haunt them.
Spin proved to be their main tormentor at the Recreation Ground where the slow bowlers shared eight of the wickets to fall.
The key man was once again Dane Piedt, the competition’s leading wicket-taker, after he claimed an impressive five for 73 in 39 incredible overs, 10 of which were maidens. There were also three wickets for 87 from George Linde in his 36-over contribution as the title-chasing home side sent down 103 overs on day one.
And they did well for most of the day by chipping away regularly at the visiting batsmen.
After winning the toss, the Titans made a relatively good star by reaching 72 for one thanks to Andrea Agathangelou (29) and Victor Mahlangu (23).
But three quick wickets for Linde and one from Piedt, who now has 44 for the season, suddenly left the away side on 74 for four.
Henry Davids (47) helped Du Plooy add 84 for the fifth wicket to stop the wrath, with another 78 coming for the sixth wicket between the latter and Shaun von Berg (30).
At 236 for five, the Titans were still nicely placed. However, the spinners again strangled them leaving Du Plooy fighting a lone battle at the close.