Omphile Ramela and Aviwe Mgijima both hit half-centuries to ensure the BuildNat Cape Cobras held the upper hand over the bizhub Highveld Lions at the halfway stage of their Sunfoil Series clash at the Recreation Ground in Oudtshoorn on Friday.

Opening the batting, left-handed Ramela top-scored with 75 (148 balls, 9 fours), while right-handed all-rounder Mgijima made a career-best 73 (170 balls, 7 fours, 1 six) as the hosts were bowled out for 273.

However, they are unlikely to be entirely satisfied after failing to build more on their efforts with the ball, which had seen them bowl out the visitors for a paltry 126.

They did establish a 147-run lead, but that was reduced to 115 after the Lions reached stumps on 32/0 thanks to Reeza Hendricks (19) and Rassie van der Dussen (13).

The Cobras had started the day on 19/1, but quickly slipped to 42/3, before a 60-run fourth-wicket stand between Ramela and Dane Vilas (36) put them back on track.

A 57-run fifth wicket partnership between the two half-centurions followed as Mgijima beat his previous best franchise cricket score of 54 against the Warriors made earlier this season on his way to a ninth career half-century.

Ramela, meanwhile, hit the 18th 50 of his first-class career, but there was little else in terms of support, apart from an unbeaten 48 by new captain Dane Piedt, who also shared in a 76-run seventh-wicket stand with Mgijima, as the Cobras were all out in 96.3 overs.

Wiaan Mulder was the pick of the bowlers with 3/44, while Dwaine Pretorius took 3/48.