ROUND SIX | DAY TWO
No side is yet fully in charge midway through a weather-bothered sixth round in Auckland, Hamilton and (brrrrrrrrrr!) Dunedin
RACHIN GETS HIS MAIDEN TON
Young Firebird Rachin Ravindra’s maiden first-class century was the day two highlight at Colin Maiden Park — but the Firebirds settled for just two of the four batting bonus points on offer after digging in through another stop-start afternoon.
The 20-year-old’s previous first-class best was 96 for the Firebirds last season, however, there wasn’t much time for nineties nervousness against the Auckland spinners, Ravindra racing through to 98 before he tapped a three off Glenn Phillips to bring up three figures for the first time in his Plunket Shield career.
Next over, Ravindra would be out off the next ball he faced. Earlier he'd poured on a 175-run partnership with Devon Conway for the second wicket that had the Firebirds in a good place.
Conway (above) had already departed some 20 overs earlier, having just missed out on a ton of his own — caught behind on 94 off Louis Delport.
Delport (below) would also end Ravindra’s stay at 224 for three as he continued to make himself look right at home in the Aces’ attack.
After having spent a long time hunting for just one breakthrough, the hosts got back in the swing of things with the quick dismissal of Michael Bracewell next over, as well as picking up Troy Johnson before stumps.
Having been 177/1, the Firebirds are overnighting on 287 for five — an interim first innings lead of 108, both sides picking up two bonuses from the innings. Not quite as comfortable a position as had been looking likely for the visitors before the Aces' late fightback.
Bonus points (completed): Wellington Firebirds 6, Auckland Aces 2
EVEN STEVENS AT SEDDON
Yesterday it was the rescuing knock, today it was four catches behind the sticks for busy BJ Watling in a delicately balanced battle between ND and Canterbury in the Tron.
The visitors have headed in for the night at 219 for seven in response to ND’s first innings of 294 all out — leaving 75 still to knock off the lead, wth three in hand tomorrow morning.
For both sides, it’s been an all-round team effort so far: players chipping in with bat or ball.
Will Williams (above) finished with 4-52 for the Cantabs after wrapping up the ND tail with the new ball this morning — just in time to deny them a third batting bonus point.
Scott Kuggeleijn (above) was left unbeaten at eight after an important hand of 72 — ND’s top score, the allrounder stepping up to the plate after the unfortunate loss of Daryl Mitchell to injury the previous day.
Lunch on day 2 and we've lost Chad Bowes early, caught by Siefert off the bowling of Baker for 5. https://t.co/aHGeH1bgNo— Canterbury Cricket (@CanterburyCrick) March 11, 2020
For Canterbury, opener Jack Boyle got a start with his 36; Stephen Murdoch and Ken McClure both got half centuries before falling to the Joe Walker-BJ Watling combo while Leo Carter is hanging in there unbeaten on 37* overnight, but running out of partners.
Too many wickets have fallen for Canterbury's liking, Jimmy Baker coming back for a couple of quickies late in the day to sit on 3-50 overnight — five wickets in all tumbling in the last session.
Bonus points (in progress): ND 5, Canterbury 5
STUTTERY STAGS DISMISSED
After a day one washout, the Stags-Volts match finally got going in Dunedin with home captain Jacob Duffy winning the toss & bowling on a fresh deck — on an overcast day that felt like someone had left the fridge door open, mercury at nine degrees celsius for the first ball.
Both sides formed a Guard of Honour at University of Otago Oval this morning to recognise umpire Derek Walkerâ€™s 100th first-class match, congratulations and thank you Derek 🙌 #plunketshield #lovethestags pic.twitter.com/w4DHSIHpgb— Central Stags 🏏 (@CentralStags) March 10, 2020
The Stags almost had their first 50 runs on the board before the first of two key runouts that would bookend their middling innings.
George Worker was the first victim, as the non-striker responding to Greg Hay’s call for a quick single. It was a nifty piece of work from bowler Matt Bacon who sprinted across the pitch in front of an equally sprinting Worker (the two by some deft miracle somehow managing not to collide).
Diving Bacon gathered the ball with one hand, throwing it at an awkward angle behind him from silly-somewhere and straight onto the sticks, Worker only just out of ground.
The last runout, of last man Blair Tickner by Michael Rippon who parried it to a waiting Duffy, was a tad less brilliant, yet more significant in the grand scheme of things in that it needlessly cost the Stags a third batting bonus point that they should otherwise have pocketed with ease — if the last pair hadn’t tried to urgently scramble the two when just three further runs and cool heads were needed.
Hanging on to third on the table, the Stags need every point they can get and the last wicket also cost Willem Ludick (47*) a half century.
GREG HAY has his 50 in Dunedin, batting with Youngy after losing opening partner GEORGE WORKER to a tight runout. Eschewing the jersey #builttoughhttps://t.co/bU7j6doavK#PlunketShield | #LOVETHESTAGS 🦌 pic.twitter.com/Iy3fRaw6u2— Central Stags 🏏 (@CentralStags) March 10, 2020
Hay’s 83 and a 95-run stand between Brad Schmulian (68) and Doug Bracewell (40, in his first first-class act of the season) were the other chief contributors to a dig of 297 all out with a rejigged order.
Duffy had pegged things back nicely by putting himself on a hat-trick with the wickets of Ben Smith and Dane Cleaver, who cursed his first-baller.
Michael Rae and Matt Bacon both charged in for a brace as the Volts took the full allotment of bowling bonus points, then their batsmen reached 38 for no loss in the last 11 overs of an oscillating contest - still with no verified sightings of a rumoured sun for the duration of the 93.2 overs.
Bonus points (in progress): Volts 4, Stags 2