Ryder marks comeback with ton
Wellington 217 for 2 (Murdoch 82*, Papps 79) trail Otago 534 for 9 dec. (Redmond 154, Ryder 117) by 317 runs
The next stage in the career of troubled New Zealand batsman Jesse Ryder began in fine style with a century on debut for Otago.
Ryder, who has returned from a six months drugs ban to play his first match since March, struck a 151-ball hundred with 19 fours as Otago racked up a big total against Wellington - the club Ryder left at the end of last season.
He is targeting a comeback for New Zealand this season in matches against West Indies and India and has two Plunket Shield matches and four HRV Cup matches to impress the selectors.
Ryder will not only need to provide a convincing weight of runs but evidence that the baggage that has accompanied his career will not disrupt what has become a harmonious national side.
Shortly before he received his six-month ban for taking a prohibited substance, Ryder was assaulted outside a bar in Christchurch and spent two days in a medically induced coma having fractured his skull.
But having served his ban and regained fitness, Ryder, as he has continually been able to do, put the ancillary issues aside on the field.
He closed day one within spitting distance of a half-century and on resumption, reached 85 at drinks. By that time Otago had taken their total over 400 for the additional loss of Sam Wells following a stand of 90 with Ryder for the fourth wicket.
A century brought up before lunch - his 14th in first-class cricket - Ryder struck three more boundaries before becoming Andy McKay's third wicket. The lower order then fell away but Derek de Boorder's 40 pushed Otago over 500 and allowed them to declare.