Wellington v Canterbury, Wellington, 3rd day March 6, 2004

Papps and Fulton fashion Canterbury fightback

Wisden Cricinfo staff

Canterbury 192 and 283 for 8 (Papps 91, Fulton 58) lead Wellington 301 (Walker 84*, Franklin 62, Martin 5-101) by 174 runs

There's just enough mischief left in the State Championship final between Wellington and Canterbury at the Basin Reserve for Wellington, the top qualifier, to be a little wary going into the last day. Canterbury fought back well after their disastrous first morning, and they finished the third day on 283 for 8, 174 ahead.

The ninth-wicket pair of Chris Harris and Stephen Cunis had already added an unbeaten 44, with Cunis slogging 35 not out off 41 balls. If they could counterattack in similar fashion for an hour on the fourth morning, Wellington could then be in a spot of bother on a declining pitch.

Earlier, Canterbury dismissed Wellington for 301, which was 109 more than they'd made in their first innings. Matthew Walker finished on 84 not out as Chris Martin, sending a message to New Zealand's selectors before the Test squad is picked next week, finished with 5 for 101.

Michael Papps and Peter Fulton, Canterbury's in-form batsmen this season, then added 107 for the second wicket, thus erasing the deficit with nine wickets in hand. But Fulton fell to Walker's bowling when on 58, and the rot set in. By the time Papps was also dismissed by Walker, with the score on 188 for 5, they had let their grasp slip.

Papps made up for his first innings duck with 91, but it wasn't until Harris (18 not out) and Cunis came together at 239 for 8 that Canterbury slipped back into the game.