Ingram and How make history
Central Districts' openers turned around a match in which they were not in the reckoning at any stage, to hand Wellington an unlikely defeat at Basin Reserve. As impressive as the result was the emphatic manner in which it achieved - for the loss of just one wicket. Set 443 in 105 overs, Central began the final day requiring 374. Openers Peter Ingram and Jamie How seemingly took it upon themselves to win the game - they added a record 428 runs before How departed for 176, including 25 fours and three sixes. He was, however, overshadowed by Ingram whose unbeaten 245 came off only 286 balls and included 36 fours and a six. The partnership eclipsed the previous first-class opening record for New Zealand, set in 1971/72 by Glenn Turner and Terry Jarvis against the West Indies.
Before the epic stand, Wellington would have expected to win a game they dominated from the outset. An unbeaten 220 from Luke Woodcock and a century from tailender Ili Tugaga rescued them from 215 for 8 to an imposing 440 in their first innings. In response Central frittered away a solid start and lost their last eight wickets for 57 runs to fold for 205, Andy McKay and Jeetan Patel picking up four apiece. The hosts pressed home the advantage through Cameron Merchant's 93, piling up 205 runs in 54 overs and setting a fourth innings target that would have been safe for at least a draw. Someone forgot to tell the visitors' openers though.
Corey Anderson and Hamish Bennett bowled Canterbury to a ten-wicket victory over Northern Districts at Seddon Park. Beginning their second innings 84 runs behind, Northern collapsed for 111 with only three batsmen managing double figures. Anderson picked up five wickets for 22 while Bennett scalped four to put their side in sight of a victory that was duly earned by the openers who knocked off the target of 28.
Earlier, a steady bowling display led by Brandon Hiini's medium-pace ensured that Northern managed only 205 in their first innings. Opener Michael Parlane's 65 was their lone bright spot before he became the second of Hinii's four wickets. Canterbury's reply was rocked early as they lost Rob Nicol and Peter Fulton with just one run on the board. Centurion Johann Myburgh then combined with Michael Papps to steady the ship and later secure a first innings lead of 84 - a deficit that Northern Districts barely managed to wipe out in the second dig.
An unbeaten 152 from Neil Broom guided Otago to a five-wicket victory against Auckland at Colin Maiden Park. Chasing a tricky target of 314, the visitors got into trouble losing three quick wickets to be reduced to 154 for 5. Broom then joined forces with Leighton Morgan to take his side home in the 80th over.
The hosts will look back at the match with mixed feelings, having recovered from 136 for 9 in the first innings to make a fist of it. Warren McSkimming was the chief wrecker, snaring 5 for 17 in his eleven overs before a tenth-wicket stand of 93 between Andrew de Boorder and Peter Erasmus took the hosts to 229. Otago also relied on a lower-order rear-guard effort to secure a 41-run first innings lead. Greg Todd anchored the innings with an unbeaten 78 even as opening bowler Michael Bates picked a five-for. Auckland then seized the initiative through Jeet Raval's century and solid supporting acts from Gareth Hopkins and Reece Young. McSkimming picked four more scalps to finish with an impressive match tally of 9 for 79, but he could not stop Auckland from reaching 354. Broom's effort however settled the issue in Otago's favour.
Northern Districts maintain their lead at the top of the table despite their defeat while Wellington move down the table to fifth place, only ahead of Auckland who are still searching for their first victory after five games.