Half-centuries from Nicky van den Bergh and Dwaine Pretorius helped the bizhub Highveld Lions fight back on day three of their Sunfoil Series clash against the BuildNat Cape Cobras but they were still facing defeat at the Recreation Ground in Oudtshoorn on Saturday.

The visitors reached stumps on 247/7 – a lead of 100 – although it was a far better showing with the bat after their dismal 126 first time around.

Right-hander Van den Bergh top-scored with 93 (252 balls, 10 fours) and Standard Bank Proteas all-rounder Pretorius hit 62 (113 balls, 8 fours).

The men from Johannesburg had started out the day on 32/0 replying to the Cobras’ 273, but lost four wickets for the addition of just 16 runs as Rassie van der Dussen (13), Reeza Hendricks (28), captain Dominic Hendricks (0) and Kagiso Rapulana (1) fell without significantly contributing on the third morning.

That left all the responsibility on the shoulders of Van den Bergh and Pretorius, who shared a 97-run fifth wicket stand, before Jason Smith, the pick of the bowlers with 2/23, broke through with the wicket of the latter.

Mangaliso Mosehle (21) helped the former add a further 60 for the sixth wicket, before he was run out, while Van den Bergh fell in the final hour handing the advantage firmly in favour of the home side.

Wayne Parnell (2/46) picked up two wickets as the Cobras closed in on a first victory of the season.