Canterbury will be hoping Central Districts can do them a favour as they look to wrap up the Plunket Shield.
Needing an outright victory in the final round to secure their third first-class title in four seasons, Canterbury’s match against Wellington is in the balance after two days at Hagley Oval with the Firebirds 117-5, 80 runs behind the home team’s first innings total.
Resuming the day on 143-7, Todd Astle could only add eight runs to his overnight total of 62. However, the tail managed to hang around long enough for Logan van Beek to score 66 valuable runs before Canterbury were dismissed for 197.
That was made to look good as Wellington were left reeling at 74-5 in reply, but a 43-run stand between Tom Blundell (48 not out) and Peter Younghusband (22 not out) carried them through to stumps.
Canterbury will need to break that partnership quickly on Friday if they are to take a first innings lead. Although, their road to the title will become a whole lot easier if Central Districts can kick on against their closest challengers, Auckland.
At stumps on 63-1 on day two in Napier, the Stags have the opportunity to take the upper hand after the Aces declared on 200-9.
Only 15 overs were bowled on Wednesday because of morning rain, then fog late in the day, but a full day’s play was able on Thursday.
And Stags paceman Navin Patel took full advantage to equal his career-best first-class bowling figures of 5-71, his third five-wicket bag.
Auckland resumed at 57-3 with Colin Munro on 24 and Rob Nicol on 5 and they added 78 for the fourth wicket before Munro was out for 52 from 37 balls.
There wasn’t much resistance from the rest of Auckland’s batting lineup as the CD seamers ripped through them.
Tarun Nethula gave the score some respectability by scoring 30 and adding 41 runs for the ninth wicket with Donovan Grobbelaar, who made 18 not out.
In reply CD batted for 27 overs and only lost one wicket by the close of play.
Greg Hay was out for 23, having put on 47 for the first wicket with Ben Smith, who was unbeaten on 25 at stumps.
George Worker was the other not out batsman on 13.
Northern Districts also have an outside chance to claim the title but two late wickets have left them all to do against Otago in Dunedin.
Otago batsman Anaru Kitchen picked up where he left off on day one, scoring his first double century after resuming on 141 not out.
He was eventually dismissed by Ish Sodhi for 207 off 250 balls, having blasted 17 fours and nine sixes, with Otago declaring on 432-8.
After being 57-3 at one stage, ND looked to have recovered courtesy of a 100-run partnership between Dean Brownlie (87) and Daryl Mitchell (47).
But both batsmen departed in the final five overs before stumps to leave ND at 162-5.
AT A GLANCE
At Hagley Oval, Christchurch: Canterbury 197 (T Astle 70, L van Beek 66, B Arnel 3-41, I McPeake 3-58) plays Wellington 117-5 (T Blundell 48, P Younghusband 22no, E Nuttall 3-30)
At McLean Park, Napier: Auckland 200-9 decl (C Munro 52, R Nicol 34, T Nethula 30; N Patel 5-71, L Dudding 2-48, B Tickner 2-60) plays Central Districts 63-1 (B Smith 25no)
At University Oval, Dunedin: Otago 432-8 decl (A Kitchen 207, D de Boorder 68, S Wells 36, J Tasman-Jones 35, I Sodhi 4-130) plays Northern Districts 162-5 (D Brownlie 87, D Mitchell 47, N Smith 2-41)
Article courtesy of Stuff.
Imagery courtesy of Photosport NZ.