NZ State Championship January 5, 2004

Stalemate in prospect at top of the table

Wisden Cricinfo staff

Close Canterbury 443 and 47 for 1 lead Auckland 403 (Vincent 156) by 87 runs

Unless it receives an artificial boost, the State Championship top-of-the-table clash between Canterbury and Auckland is drifting towards a high-scoring draw. Thanks to Lou Vincent, who responded to his recent omission from the New Zealand squad with 156, Auckland got to within 40 runs of Canterbury. It was Vincent's second highest first-class score, and he was helped along the way by Paul Hitchcock's 45.

By stumps on the third day, Canterbury had added another 47 runs to the lead with Peter Fulton unbeaten on 21. He won't get many better chances to emulate his team-mate Michael Papps, and score his third century of the season. Papps himself was dismissed for 11 in the second innings.

Close Central Districts 350 and 291 for 7 dec lead Otago 209 and 114 for 3 by 318 runs

Central Districts also look set to claim a deserved victory over Otago, who were set a target of 432 runs at New Plymouth's Pukekura Park. Jamie How (51), Mathew Sinclair (61), Ross Taylor (52) and Regan West (44) all helped themselves to runs as the declaration was sought, with only Nathan McCullum, who took 3 for 49, having much success on the bowling front.

Muhammad Wasim was out for a duck, but Chris Gaffaney and Robbie Lawson revived the innings before both fell just before stumps for 53 and 43 respectively.

Close Wellington 250 and 190 lead Northern Districts 125 and 190 for 7 by 125 runs

Unless Wellington are denied by the weather, or a complete inability to remove the last three Northern Districts batsmen, there should be eight points on offer from their game at Hamilton's Westpac Park. Wellington finished their second innings on 190 with Matthew Walker making 35 and Luke Woodcock 36.

Northern Districts' left-arm spinner Bruce Martin took 5 for 73 and Gareth West 4 for 23 to wrap up the innings. ND were left needing to score 315 for victory, and by stumps had reached 190 for 7. Walker and Woodcock also chipped in with the ball, taking 2 for 16 and 2 for 37 respectively.