Hollywoodbets Dolphins’ star Vaughn van Jaarsveld registered a fifth consecutive half century in as many innings on day three of their rain interrupted Sunfoil Series clash with the bizhub Highveld Lions at the Pietermaritzburg Oval on Sunday. Pic: Anesh Debiky / Gameplan

A sporting declaration from the bizhub Highveld Lions at the start of day three meant that the Hollywoodbets Dolphins had a 277 run deficit to overturn in their first innings, and they battled hard to finish the day on 185/6 in their Sunfoil Series clash at the Pietermaritzburg Oval on Sunday.

The Lions declared their innings closed overnight after a large chunk of the second day was lost to rain and the Dolphins had the opportunity to move the game forward, however some good bowling from the visitors kept the hosts under pressure throughout the day.

Senuran Muthusamy and Morné van Wyk got the innings underway and they were unable to gain momentum with the latter falling for 17 from 78 deliveries.

Muthusamy (35) fell fairly soon after his opening partner, but then another Vaughn van Jaarsveld half century at just under a run a ball gave their innings much needed momentum.

The talented left-hander, who has scored five half centuries in his last five Sunfoil Series innings, disappointingly holed out to long off, off Aaron Phangiso for 52.

The Lions’ spinners came to the fore on day three with Phangiso snapping up three wickets for 59 runs, while fellow left-arm tweaker Bjorn Fortuin accounted for two of the Dolphins batsmen at a cost of 44 runs.

Sibz Makhanya put together a determined 20 before he was caught behind off the wily Phangiso before captain Khaya Zondo batted to the close of the day ending on an unbeaten 38.

Dane Vilas (4) and Rob Frylinck (10) both fell to the left-arm spinners, the former to Phangiso and the latter to Fortuin, leaving the Dolphins in trouble at 182/6, still trailing the Lions’ first innings by 95 runs.

The day was once again cut short due to poor light with the Dolphins on 185/6, Zondo (38*) and Calvin Savage (2*).

The fourth and final day of the encounter will take place on Monday at the Pietermaritzburg Oval and entrance is free.