State Championship 2003-04 February 27, 2004

Walker and Nevin put Wellington in command

Wisden Cricinfo staff

Otago 154 for 2 (Gaffaney 69) trail Wellington 482 for 9 dec (Walker 126, Nevin 124*) by 328 runs

Wellington were in the box seat in the race for the State Championship final at the end of the second day's play at the Basin Reserve. They went into the last round of games ahead by one point, and after two days they were in a comfortable position. By finishing on top, they would not only ensure playing the final at home, but it will require the opposition to achieve an outright victory to take the title.

Matthew Walker (126) and Chris Nevin (124*) put on a 250-run partnership to make the task even more difficult for Otago before the declaration.

James Franklin made an early breakthrough when he trapped Mohammad Wasim lbw for 17. Chris Gaffaney scored a quickfire 69 off 79 balls in a 112-run partnership, and it was left to Craig Cumming (45*) to get them out of trouble.

Canterbury 145 for 5 (Fulton 74*) trail Northern Districts 434 (Hatwell 68, Yovish 65, Hart 64) by 289 runs

At Gisborne, Canterbury struggled in their bid to ensure themselves a place in the final. Their hopes rested on Peter Fulton, the captain, who battled for 202 minutes for his unbeaten 74. He added 63 with Paul Wiseman and the pair took them to stumps. Mark Orchard was the initial destroyer as Canterbury found themselves 28 for 3 and then hobbled to 82 for 5. But that was when the recovery began.

Central Districts 268 for 8 (Sulzberger 56, Taylor 52, Adams 4 for 110) trail Auckland 316 by 48 runs

Auckland's innings was quickly polished off on the second morning at New Plymouth before the teams jostled for the first-innings lead. Ross Taylor hit out with 52 off 31 balls, including five sixes and three fours, and added 90 with Glen Sulzberger (56). But Andre Adams and Heath Davis snapped up seven wickets between them and dashed CD's hopes of a first-innings lead. Regan West remained unbeaten on 39 at the close. However, the match may not last the distance, as the tail end of a cyclone is expected to create havoc over the weekend.