The Sunfoil Dolphins ended the first day of their Sunfoil Series encounter against the bizhub Highveld Lions on 47 for two, still 201 runs away from the visitors' first innings total at Sahara Stadium Kingsmead on Thursday.
The bizhub Highveld Lions, bowled out for 248, had a middle-order stand of 120 between Brett Pelser (66) and Zander de Bruyn (68) to thank for getting out of the doldrums of 80 for four just before lunch.
The Dolphins, who had won the toss and elected to bowl, had rooted out the top-order, with Stephen Cook (11), Quinton de Kock (36) Temba Bavuma (29) and a tentative Neil McKenzie (2) all sent packing before lunch.
McKenzie was brilliantly caught by Vaughn van Jaarsveld at second slip, and, when Bavuma - caught behind off the impressive Kyle Abbott - became the fourth wicket to fall, they were in danger of being bundled out for not much more than 100.
But Pelser's 11th first-class fifty and De Bruyn's obdurate 75th half-ton at the other end saw the visitors recover and indeed dominate the second session, as they scored 107 runs without a wicket lost in the middle period between lunch and tea.
After the tea interval, the wickets fell furiously, with Craig Alexander nabbing two in two balls, having Dieter Klein wonderfully caught at gully by a leaping Jonathan Vandiar, and then trapping Imran Tahir plumb first ball.
Gulam Bodi, who had limped off hurt after facing one ball and then tweaking his hamstring in trying to make his ground before lunch, returned to the crease, but was brilliantly taken by Calvin Savage, who sprinted in from long-leg to scoop up the top-edged hook off Kyle Abbott.
Savage accounted for Pumelela Matshikwe, castled for a helpful 22, and then De Bruyn, who holed out to cover for 68. That meant the bizhub Highveld Lions had lost their last six wickets for just 45 runs, against a Sunfoil Dolphins attack that had been largely wayward, but for a brief, brutal spell after tea.
Savage ended with a third successive three-wicket haul, but it was Abbott's four for 59 that stole the headlines. The Sunfoil Dolphins spearhead now leads the Sunfoil Series wicket-taking chart with 28 scalps.
In reply, the Dolphins ticked along at over four an over, but also lost both their openers, as the match trundled along at a merry pace.
Divan van Wyk was first to go, as he saw his off-stump uprooted by an Ethan O'Reilly toe-crusher for 18. Van Wyk's opening partner, Imraan Khan, who had sailed to 22 off 31 balls, with four fours, was then adjudged to have feathered Tahir's wrong'un, and suddenly the Dolphins were 43 for two.
At the crease, when stumps were drawn under suddenly murky skies, were night-watchman Mthokozisi Shezi (3) and the cavalier Vandiar, who had already bludgeoned Tahir to the mid-wicket fence, to signal his intention.
With twelve wickets already tumbling on day one, it all points to another topsy-turvy contest in Durban.
Sunfoil Dolphins: Imraan Khan, Divan van Wyk, Jonathan Vandiar, Vaughn van Jaarsveld, Khaya Zondo, Cody Chetty, Daryn Smit (wk/c), Kyle Abbott, Calvin Savage, Craig Alexander, Mthokozisi Shezi.
Bizhub Highveld Lions: Temba Bavuma, Stephen Cook (c), Gulam Bodi, Quinton de Kock, Neil McKenzie, Zander de Bruyn, Pumelela Matshikwe, Dieter Klein, Ethan O'Reilly, Brett Pelser, Imran Tahir.